Barge Accident Causes Texas City Dike to Close
On Saturday afternoon, a barge and ship collided near the Texas City dike, which is a levee that runs approximately five miles into the Galveston Bay. The barge involved in the accident was carrying more than 920,000 gallons of oil, which was leaking—it is currently unclear how much of the oil leaked.
Around 12:30 p.m., the barge collided with a 585-foot-long bulk carrier ship. The barge partially sank and the ship has since left the area, according to Texas City Homeland Security Director Bruce Clawson. The owner of the tugboat ("Miss Susan") moving the barge immediately activated the emergency response plan following the accident and has been cooperating with the Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office.
Two of the crewmembers who were working aboard the barge have since been treated for exposure and transported to Mainland Medical Center as the oil on the barge contained high amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Clawson has stated that the collision and the oil spill does not pose a serious risk to the local community.
Still, the dike has since been evacuated of everyone—including participants and spectators of today's kiteboarding competition—and shut down to both help with the oil spill cleanup and to serve as a precaution. Both a Texas City Fire Department HazMat team and the U.S. Coast Guard have responded to the scene of the accident, and the Texas General Land Office's Oil Spill Response Team is on its way.