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Houston Ship Channel Fully Reopens

The Houston Ship Channel reopened Thursday morning after a collision between two vessels spilled a dangerous chemical into the water. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.


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The chemical tanker Carla Maersk and the bulk carrier Conti Peridot off Morgan’s Point, Texas, March 10, 2015, after being involved in a collision March 9, 2015. The Maersk was carrying about 216,000 barrels of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether and an unknown quantity of the product was spilled. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin R. Williams)


The chemical tanker that was hit by a bulk carrier Monday was successfully moved out of the ship channel. Vessels that had been backed up for days were allowed to navigate in and out of the waterway.

The tanker Carla Maersk and the bulk carrier Conti Pridot crashed in foggy conditions. Nobody was hurt, but some of the Carla Maersk’s cargo of MTBE was spilled.

“We had product that was onboard that was in tanks that were unaffected, and then we had tanks that were breached, that had vapor coming out that were posing a threat. We were able to apply a high density foam on top of the chemical, and then pump out all of the chemical that was in those tanks so that there was no longer a threat,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick.

Kendrick said the MTBE was left in the tanks that were not damaged.

“But the good news, obviously, is that were able to significantly reduce the threat, get the ship moved in and get the ship channel reopened,” Kendrick said.

While there have been no immediate impact to wildlife and no reports of fish kills, officials are now monitoring the area for any long term effect to the environment.