Cleanup continues in Galveston area oil spill

At approximately 12:35 p.m. yesterday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston received a call from the captain of the 585-foot bulk carrier Summer Wind, reporting a collision between the Summer Wind and a barge, containing 924,000 gallons of fuel oil, towed by the motor vessel Miss Susan.

The motor vessel Miss Susan was transiting from Texas City to Bolivar at the time of the collision. Kirby Inland Marine, owner of the motor vessel Miss Susan and the barges,  activated its emergency response plan immediately and is working in a unified response with the Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office, which are on scene.

A sheen of oil has been reported on the water, but the quantity of product released is unknown at this time.

Efforts to contain and recover oil spilled after a collision that occurred Saturday in the Houston Ship Channel continue with an aggressive deployment of all available response resources, Sunday.

Lightering operations to transfer remaining oil from the damaged barge are expected to be complete today. After the barges are decontaminated the damaged barge will be taken to a local shipyard for assessment and needed repairs.

The primary emphasis remains the safety of response personnel working in the area and the protection of environmentally sensitive habitats, including birds and marine life.

The Unified Command, consisting of a wide variety of federal, state and local government agencies have expanded the safety zone to include all areas between Lighted Buoy 3 and Lighted Buoy 40, to prevent other vessels from interfering with the response efforts and from inadvertently facilitating the spread of oil.

Approximately 35,000 feet of boom has been deployed in containment efforts and to mitigate the affect on the environment. The area immediately surrounding the damaged barge was quickly boomed on Saturday afternoon. The maximum capacity of the breached tank is 168,000 gallons of marine fuel oil. The amount of released product still being assessed at this time.

The Bolivar ferry continues to be closed and persons with questions regarding transportation issues may contact 409-795-2230. On going air monitoring continues to show that there is no potential harm to residents or businesses in the area.

Wildlife Response Services, a Texas-based wildlife rehabilitation service has also been deployed to assist with any impacted birds or marine life.  Persons who observe any impacted wildlife are urged to call 888-384-2000. As of 10 a.m. Sunday, there have been no reports of affected marine or wildlife.

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