Houston Barge Collision Update: Cleanup Continues, Wildlife Harmed
On Friday afternoon, two barges being pushed by a tugboat named Voyager collided with a tanker named Genesis River. One of the barges capsized, and the other was hit so hard that it was nearly sliced in half. Both barges were carrying 25,000 barrels of reformate, an ingredient used in producing high-octane gasoline. Recovery crews are still working to remove the remaining reformate from the barges, which are both submerged. Officials say it could take two days to fully remove all the toxic material from the barge accident.
The Houston Ship Channel remained closed until Sunday, although the effects of the reformate have yet to be fully understood. Regardless, the cause of the collision is still being investigated. Voyager is owned by Kirby Marine and the Genesis River is owned by Gyxis. Kirby Marine is helping with recovery efforts.
Wildlife Casualties Wash Up Onshore
More than 1,000 baby fish and 200 blue crab washed up onshore this weekend, according to Bob Stokes, President of the Galveston Bay Foundation. Two dead seagulls and a dead raccoon were also reported to have died due to reformate exposure. Officials have warned residents not to eat any fish or shellfish.
Additionally, officials have told people not to eat any shellfish from Galveston Bay. Any fish or shellfish that smells like oil or gasoline should be reported immediately.
While reformate is highly toxic to marine life, there is good news: the air quality around the Houston Ship Channel has not been severely affected. Despite a weekend-long period where the air smelled like gasoline, air quality tests returned results within normal limits. Officials reportedly tested more than 2,700 air samples.
As for the barge accident and subsequent recovery, no injuries have been reported. Our Houston barge accident lawyers will continue to follow the situation.