Houston Ship Channel Barge Collision Causes Gasoline Leak
The Houston Ship Channel is closed from Light 61 to Light 75 after a crash between a barge and another vessel around 3:30 PM on Friday. Two barges were on the inbound channel and the tanker was outbound when they collided. As a result of the collision, one of the barges has capsized and the other has a large hole in it. According to authorities, the barge is now leaking reformate into the channel, south of Bayport.
Officials say that the barge will leak 25,000 barrels of reformate. Reformate is a refined product that is blended with gasoline to boost octane for diverse commercial uses, including the production of plastic. It is also an extremely flammable substance that can be fatal if swallowed. For that reason, reformate is toxic to marine life and humans. There have been reports about a petroleum smell coming from the bay. The name of the ship that struck the barges was Genesis River, a Panama tanker, and it was headed to Bayport Container Dock No. 5. Authorities still don’t know if there are any injuries.
The Dangers of Barge Accidents
Barges are used for river and canal transport to move heavy cargo through shallow waters. Barges typically transport items in bulk, including items like coal, grain, refined chemicals, and oil. According to OSHA, more than 305 employees were killed on barge/tow vessels between 1997 and 2006. Dangerous chemicals, gases, and oils can become a serious safety hazard on barges—not only a danger to employees, but also to marine life and people onshore There are many different types of barges, some of which aren’t self-propelled. Two heavy vessels in an unpredictable environment can lead to unexpected accelerations or collisions between two vessels, as this recent accident shows.
At Arnold & Itkin, we know how severe the consequences of barge and vessel accidents can be, especially when they result in oil spills and injuries. Our barge accident attorneys will continue to follow this story as authorities release more details about the incident.