By MarEx 2015-07-20 11:26:26
A barge transporting petroleum naphtha caught fire, which spilled in Intercoastal Waterway near Houston around 1:30 am after colliding with another barge near the Bolivar Peninsula at mile marker 348. The incident is being overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard, who said the incident is not affecting traffic in the shipping channel.
The accident occurred after the tug pushing the barge lost power and collided with another tug and barge unit. The Coast Guard reported that the fire was put out about 5:30 am and at this time it is not known if either of the barges are leaking, but they also said there were no injuries as well. Meanwhile, the section of the Intercoastal waterway near the spill has been closed.
The 3,000 mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts includes natural inlets, saltwater inlets, bays and sound including man-made channels. The Houston Ship Channel, which is a man-made, is one of the most important shipping lanes in the country. The region is the center of U.S. refining capacity, producing about one-tenth of petroleum of products as well as being a major export area for the international markets. The waterway is toll-free, but commercial users pay a fuel tax that is used to maintain and improve it.