Skip to comments.UPDATE- Houston Ship Channel Reopens to Barge Traffic After Spill
Posted on 03/25/2014 9:41:19 AM PDT by thackney
Just before 10:00 CST on Tuesday morning, the Houston Ship Channel reopened exclusively to barge traffic after a fuel oil spill on Saturday shut down the waterway that enables tankers to supply over one-tenth of US refining capacity.
Planes were to begin flying after sunrise on Tuesday across Galveston Bay to assess the location of 4,000 barrels of heavy fuel oil spilled after a Kirby Inland Marine oil barge and a cargo ship collided on Saturday afternoon, the Coast Guard said.
Additionally, the Coast Guard prepared inspection and decontamination stations for vessels entering and exiting the channel once it reopens.
Early Tuesday morning, 54 deep-draft vessels waited to enter the channel en route to the port of Houston while 47 waited to depart, the Coast Guard said.
An additional four ships waited to sail to Texas City, where petrochemical plants and refineries are also located. One vessel was waiting to leave Texas City, while five ships were also waiting to sail to Galveston.
Since the channel was shut on Saturday, the US's second-largest refinery, ExxonMobil's 560,500 bpd facility in Baytown, Texas, has had to reduce production.
I remember when part of the channel caught fire.. must have been almost twenty years ago.
I was at Ethyl / Albemarle then, with Bechtel.
They ran us all out of the plant so we went to “The Shutdown” icehouse and watched the smoke.
These days they use the channel water as fire water source.
A little different from the days when channel water might actually ignite.
I think I saw where Kirby, the owner of the barge has taken responsibility.
Even in the fog, with the electronics, it hard to miss a big cargo ship in the ship channel.
Kirby Inland Marine came forward immediately after the crash, and assumed responsibility for funding the oil spill response.
Houston Fog is brutal. I have spent many days at anchor just offshore waiting for that channel to open.
I had to look it up. Wiki says it's No. 2 Fuel Oil
Number 2 fuel oil is a distillate home heating oil. Trucks and some cars use similar diesel fuel with a cetane number limit describing the ignition quality of the fuel. Both are typically obtained from the light gas oil cut. Gas oil refers to the original use of this fraction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries - the gas oil cut was used as an enriching agent for carburetted water gas manufacture.
This is not the same diesel at the local gas station??
Bunkering is the process of pump fuel from a barge to a ships fuel tanks.
Bunker fuel is HFO. Heavy fuel oil. Not the same as diesel at your local station. Its thick and black because its not as refined as fuels for smaller engines.
Wiki says whatever the last person wanted it to say.
Bunker Fuel is not number #2 Fuel Oil. #2 is essential diesel without the road tax.
Bunker Oil is typically is #6. Heavy oil that often needs some heating to get it flow decently.
What is that fuel mostly used for? ...where was the barge headed with its load?
It has a very high BTU content per volume. I know it has been used for ship fuel. I believe it has also been used in power plants. Sometimes known as residual fuel oil, but that may be slang rather than the actual residual oil from the bottom of the distillation towers.
I believe bunker fuel and naval distillate are the same thing? Fuel for large ships?
That barge was probably headed to refuel a ship that was in port. Most ships bunker in Houston if its on their schedule because its cheaper.
I don’t watch television, but my wife does. Last night, she was watching Brian Williams, and I saw “OIL SPILL DISASTER” in big letters, with lots of images of oil soaked birds and marine creatures, and they even had what looked like an image of the Exxon Valdez.
So...4000 barrels spilled and that is the disaster? I don’t think it is a good thing, but...disaster?
There is a difference between rfo and hfo. Not much, they look about the same but I don’t know the exact difference.
I believe they have found 7 birds over the last 3 days with oil on them.
Part of the reason for the low numbers is that in addition to putting out the oil spill booms quickly, they are shooting off cannon to keep scaring the birds away.
There is also what’s called LSHFO. Low sulfer fuel oil. Has to be used within 24 miles off the coast of The peoples republic of California for environmental laws.
I just had this vision of news crews saying “Can’t we just shut the cannons down for a few hours? How on earth are we supposed to get graphic images of soiled seabirds?”
I think that requirement is going national.
EPA Finalizes More Stringent Standards
for Control of Emissions from New
Marine Compression-Ignition Engines
at or Above 30 Liters per Cylinder
Basically, the owner of the ship carrying the oil is responsible, said Thomas Perrelli, a partner with the law firm Jenner & Block who previously oversaw the U.S. Justice Departments litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
If Kirby believes the Cleopatra Shipping vessel or other entities played a role in causing the spill, it will have to pursue litigation seeking reimbursement for a portion of any penalties or damages it pays.