Houston Ship Channel closed after barge, vessel collide

Air quality is being monitored after a collision on the Houston Ship Channel Friday between a 755-foot tanker and a tug pushing two barges.

The collision occurred at Lights 71-74 near Bayport, Texas. One barge capsized and one was damaged.

Officials say an estimated 25,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock were loaded on each barge, and an unknown amount of product has been released from the damaged barge.

A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine was set up to respond to the collision.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is conducting around the clock air monitoring in the communities west of the bay. Results from air monitoring will be published at https://bayport-response.com/air-monitoring/

Unified Command says no readings have been recorded above actionable levels, but any readings above actionable levels will be immediately reported to the appropriate emergency operations center.

A hotline has also been established for the public to report strong gasoline odors. The number for the hotline is 281-757-3017.

Officials say anyone who feels they may require medical attention is still advised to call 911.

A portion of the Houston Ship Channel is closed from Light 61-75, and a safety zone has closed Clear Creek Channel from the entrance to Clear Lake and extending east to Light 66 on the Houston Ship Channel and north up to but not including the Bayport Ship Channel.

Boom was deployed around the barges and more is being deployed to protect sensitive areas along the bay, Unified Command says.

Salvage teams are assessing the damaged barges.

According to Unified Command, there are no reported injuries at this time.

A 24/7 claims hotline has been established at 1-800-241-9010.