The US Coast Guard (USCG) closed a 1,000-yard section of the upper Houston Ship Channel to deep draft ship traffic around dawn on Monday after a tug-and-barge sank. Barge traffic was allowed to continue but was moving slowly, according to multiple reports.
The 25-foot harbour tug Annie Moon and a 200-foot barge attached to it went down in place where they were moored close to Vince Bayou and near the Kinder Morgan ship dock in Galena Park.
Problems began when the barge – with a load of thick metal sheets – began taking on water around 5am. The barge ended up three-quarters submerged and the tug completely underwater. Both are near the channel’s bank.
There were no crew members on board when it happened.
A USCG assessment team said that around 20 gallons from its total load of 300 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the tug and USCG used equipment to contain the spilled material.
A heavy lift cargo crane was expected to arrive in the afternoon and begin the task of removing the vessels from the channel.