Intracoastal Waterway in Texas reopens following barge collision and blaze

Houston: Traffic resumed on a section of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in Texas after being closed for around 20 hours following Monday’s barge collision and fire.

The accident, which did not result in injuries, happened on a section of the ICW where it intersects the Houston Ship Channel near Bolivar Peninsula, about 50 miles from Houston.

Two barges were travelling eastwards and two westwards when one of the towboats lost power causing the collision. It  involved three of the barges, one of which caught fire.

The barge that burned was carrying 1 million gallons of the volatile gasoline additive naphtha and the resulting blaze took more than four hours to extinguish.

Two of the barges involved were operated by Kirby Inland Marine, based in Houston, and the other two Enterprise Marine Services of Channelview, Texas.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) said it does not believe a significant amount of product was released into the waterway. But it could not say if the fire burned the actual naphtha product being carried or the diesel fuel being used by the barge.

USCG’s investigation into the accident continues.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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