Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Tanker collision sends thousands of gallons of gasoline product leaking into bay

Tanker collision sends thousands of gallons of gasoline product leaking into bay

A gas tanker has collided with two barges on its way out of the Houston Shipping Channel, spilling potentially tens of thousands of barrels of toxic gasoline additive into the water.

There were no reported injuries.

Reformate is colorless, flammable and toxic to touch, inhale or ingest. "(T) he first priority of the unified command is public safety", it said.

The Houston Ship Channel is the city's lifeline to the Gulf of Mexico and to foreign markets. The barges carried some 25,000 barrels of the chemical each, but the amount spilled is unknown, according officials cited by local media.

The collision, between tanker Genesis River and a Kirby Inland Marine tug towing two barges, halted all traffic between lights 61 and 75, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

"We are continuing to work with the Coast Guard and the other federal regulators to understand the cause of the incident and will be working to recover any of the spilled product and mitigate the impact on the environment", Guidry said.

Water quality testing is being done along the bay, the statement said.

A separate investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing. "The big question is how long that will take, which we don't know yet", he said.

Galveston County officials warned that if anyone smelled gasoline, they should stay indoors and avoid the coastline, KHOU-TV reports. As of 2 p.m. local time Sunday, 47 outbound vessels and 48 inbound vessels were waiting to pass through the channel.

It's a jarring reminder of the benzene spikes that paralyzed daily life in nearby towns and sent scores of people to seek medical treatment after the mid-March fire and chemical spill at Intercontinental Terminals Co.'s complex along the south shore of the ship channel.

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