Houston Ship Channel reopens at San Jacinto River Bridge after barge allision

The Coast Guard opened the Houston Ship Channel with restrictions Tuesday at the Interstate 10 San Jacinto River Bridge near Channelview, Texas.

The Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston established a safety zone on the San Jacinto River from the southern end of Southwest Shipyard, extending north of the I-10 bridge to Buoy 4. Transiting the safety zone is open to limited vessel traffic with the following restrictions:

  • Only light boats and single barge tows may transit.
  • Transit only during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset).
  • No meeting or overtaking.
  • All vessels must check in and out with Vessel Traffic Service Houston-Galveston at least 15 minutes prior to getting underway.
  • The Coast Guard continues to work with the Texas Department of Transportation as they conduct repairs of the bridge that affect the navigational safety of the waterway.

On Sunday, the San Jacinto River Fleet unified command announced that the two barges lodged under the I-10 San Jacinto River Bridge near Houston were successfully removed.

“This was a very complex operation that was completed with no pollution or injuries to responders,” said Cmdr. Nicole Rodriguez, federal-on-scene coordinator for the response.

The two barges that were wedged underneath the I-10 bridge since they broke loose of their moorings Friday were loaded with naptha and monoethylene glycol. There was no release of product.

It was announced Sunday that the final phase of the response was completed. Members of the unified command completed lightering and transport operations of barge CBC 1407, which had landed at an existing Superfund site after a barge breakaway from a fleet on Sept. 20. The barge had been beached on a mud flat north of the bridge and contained lube oil.

The unified command consisted of the Coast Guard, the federal on-scene coordinator; Texas Department of Transportation, the state on-scene coordinator for transportation and infrastructure; Texas General Land Office, state on-scene coordinator monitoring for pollution; and Canal Barge Company Inc., New Orleans, the responsible party.

There is currently no health threat to the public and no reports of pollution from the barges.

The I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River remains closed due to damage sustained during the incident.

At approximately 12 a.m. Friday, nine barges broke away from their moorings at the San Jacinto River Fleet, north of the San Jacinto River bridge.

The barges included:

Ingram Barge Company: IB1927 containing soybean oil, IB1985 containing soybean oil, IB1960 containing soybean oil, IB1954 containing soybean oil , IB9123 containing caustic soda, and Canal Barge, CBC1406 containing lube oil.

The two barges that were lodged under the I-10 San Jacinto River Bridge were Canal Barge’s 11,689-bbl. CBC1403 containing naptha and the 16,938-bbl. CBC193 containing monoethylene glycol.

Responders with the San Jacinto River Fleet Unified Command used a drone to conduct initial damage assessments of the I-10 bridge Friday.

The San Jacinto fleet incident Joint Information Center is being disbanded. Future inquiries regarding the waterway can be made of the Coast Guard Public Affairs attachment, Texas at 281-464-4985, as they will continue to monitor port and waterway operations.

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