Houston Ship Channel Reopens After Tanker Fire
The Houston Ship Channel has re-opened after a tanker fire and fuel spill caused it to shut down for 14 hours on Tuesday.
The unladen vessel, Aframax River, is suspected to have hit an object, possibly a submerged sewer line, in the water near the Intercontinental Terminals Company around midnight on Monday. The vessel had a pilot on board and proceeding to a berth.
The incident resulted in one of the vessel’s fuel tanks being punctured. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but no injuries have been reported. Flames reached as high as 200 feet.
Only a light sheen from bunker fuel, a type of diesel, has been seen in the channel, according to the Coast Guard.
Environmental response experts from the Texas General Land Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were on-site.
"This incident could have been much worse, but was mitigated due to the prompt and effective response of two Port of Houston Authority fire boats," said Captain Peter Martin of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The owner and operator of the tanker is Greek company Aframax River Marine.