Galveston Oil Spill Leaves 160,000 Gallons of Oil In Bay


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Galveston Bay, Texas is one of the world's busiest petrochemical transportation waterways, but the port remains closed after an oil spill on Sunday when a marine fuel oil barge collided with another ship. The barge was carrying nearly a million gallons of marine fuel oil, but officials believe only one of the barge tanks was hit - which is still nearly 170,000 gallons of oil. Coast Guard office Andy Kendrick says it's still unclear exactly how much oil did spill, but estimates it's around 160,000 gallons - most of the tank. Crews have been brought in to skim the oil out of the water, as well as containment booms to protect the sensitive areas of the hit ship.

Coast Guard Capt. Brian Penoyer says this is an "extremely serious spill." “There is a large quantity, it will spread, ” he says. "That stuff is terrible to have to clean up," says Jim Suydam, a spokesman for the General Land Office. Jim says the oil in the barge is "sticky, gooey, thick, tarry stuff."

Almost every private cleanup organization in the area came out Sunday to help contain and clean up the oil. Two of the six crew members aboard the barge were hospitalized for hydrogen sulfide exposure. The spill has shut down all marine traffic out of the port, including citizens boarding cruise ships, such as the Royal Caribbean. Bruce Clawson, director of Texas City Homeland Security, says that there is no danger to the larger community around the port, which lies about 40 miles southeast of Houston. Crews are working steadfastly around the clock to clean up the bay and reopen the port as quickly as possible.

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