Portion of Port of Houston remains closed due to chemical spill

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, March 10, 2015

At least one terminal at the Port of Houston has been shut down following a chemical spill that occurred Monday morning when two tankers collided in the shipping channel.

According to a release issued by the Port of Houston Authority, Barbours Cut Container Terminal remains closed for business Tuesday. The Port Authority announced late Tuesday afternoon that the terminal will not open at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, but stated there is a possibility it could reopen later in the day.

Attempts to reach a port authority spokesperson were unsuccessful; however, Land Line has learned that the initial spill on Monday resulted in a shelter-in-place procedure for truckers and other personnel at the port yesterday. The crash and spill shut down all port operations for Monday. As of Tuesday morning, at least 28 ships were waiting to enter the channel while 21 were waiting to leave.

The spill is also disrupting sea traffic at the port, which is one of the world’s busiest by cargo tonnage. Authorities with the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday announced that the cleanup area has expanded from a one-mile to an eight-mile area from Morgan’s Point to the Hartman Bridge, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

The spill occurred following a crash between the tanker Carla Maersk and a Liberian bulk carrier, the Conti Peridot. The Carla Maersk was reportedly carrying about 216,000 barrels of MTBE, a chemical additive found in gasoline.

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