Galveston, TX – A section of the Intercoastal Waterway remains closed after barge carrying about a million gallons of petroleum was engulfed in flames after two tug boats collided off Point Bolivar early Monday morning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Intercoastal Waterway from marker #348 to the Houston Ship Channel reopened at 9:15 p.m. Monday. The collision happened near where the Intercoastal Waterway intersects Houston Ship Channel Traffic.
The ship channel remained open following the collision.
Each of the tugs had two barges in tow. They collided after the captain of the tug boat“Shorty C” reported losing power around 1:30 a.m. His lead barge collided with one of those being towed by the tug “Jackie,” filled with about one million gallons of highly flammable naphtha.
It took salvage crews about hours to get the fire under control. Investigators say it’s not clear if the fire was fueled by the naphtha on board, or by diesel fuel.
Now officials are keeping people from that area, and as a precaution containment booms have been put in place as a precaution across the entrance to Horseshoe Lake on the Bolivar Peninsula.
Monday afternoon two of the undamaged barges were towed to port to be unloaded. A third is expected to be moved by the end off the day. Coast Guard investigators say they don’t expect to move.
No injuries have been reported.