Houston Ship Channel Reopened

The Coast Guard finally opened the Houston ship channel to inbound and outbound ships Wednesday afternoon. The channel had been closed to all traffic since Sunday with a limited number of outbound vessels being allowed to transit yesterday.

The Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service worked to manage the transit of a backlog of 45 inbound ships and 19 outbound ships.

The northern portion of the busy ship channel leading to the Port of Houston was shut down early Sunday by the Coast Guard after a tug pushing 3 barges collided with a high-voltage power line tower. Power lines travelling across the channel were downed, and the steel tower, severely damaged, was being supported by one of the barges.

CenterPoint Energy managed to disconnect all 14 power lines from the damaged tower and were working Wednesday to remove the remaining legs from the structure. Big John Marine, the contractor hired to remove the tower, will use a giant on-site crane to safely remove the structure.

The crew from the T/V Safety Quest, owned by AEP, was administered drug and alcohol tests immediately following the incident.

A full investigation is underway.

U.S. Coast Guard