A barge carrying nearly a million gallons of especially thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay yesterday, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching. Booms were brought in to try to contain the spill, which the Coast Guard said was reported at around 12:30pm by the captain of the 585-foot ship, Summer Wind. The Coast Guard said the spill hadn't been contained as of 10pm, and that the collision was still being investigated.
The Coast Guard says that the cleanup today is blocking the movement of about 60 ships in or out of the Galveston Bay, including three cruise ships. Lt. Sam Danus says the mouth of Houston Ship Channel is closed. Twenty-seven vessels, including two cruise ships, are waiting to enter the channel from the Gulf of Mexico. Thirty-four vessels, including one cruise ship, are waiting to leave Galveston Bay. Danus says it's not clear when the channel will reopen.