ship channel incident : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Sunken Tug Boat Shuts Down Houston Ship Channel 12:06 pm May 30, 2000 HOUSTON -- Part of the nation's second-largest port was paralyzed Tuesday when a tug boat sank in the Houston Ship Channel, causing the U.S. Coast Guard to close off part of the waterway.

The 77-foot tug UTV Vecturian was reported sunk near the Washburn Tunnel, adjacent to the channel's massive petrochemical complex, about 6:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Two crewmembers were safely rescued by another tug, the John G. Morgan, Lt. Robert Schoen said. Fuel cleanup and salvage operations were under way Tuesday morning, although Schoen said he did not know if the segment would be reopened before Wednesday.

The sunken tug was carrying about 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel and was losing about five gallons per hour, Schoen said. About 2,000 feet of booms were deployed to contain the fuel spill.

The Coast Guard is patrolling the closed area and monitoring the fuel cleanup effort, Schoen said.

Most of the Ship Channel was downstream of the closure and was unaffected. However, the blockage sealed off much of the Port of Houston, No. 1 in the United States in foreign tonnage and seventh largest overall in the world.

(Copyright 2000 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

-- mike in houston (, May 30, 2000

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