Coast Guard rushes to clean oil spill near Houston

 

The Coast Guard has deployed 24 vessels to contain and clean up nearly 170,000 gallons of oil from the Houston Ship Channel near Houston after an oil barge collided with another ship.

Oil had already floated 12 miles into the Gulf of Mexico by Sunday and officials have closed the ship channel after the collision about 45 miles southeast of Houston, the Associated Press reported. About 60 vessels were waiting to use the channel Monday morning.

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“This is a significant spill,” Capt. Brian Penoyer, commander of the Coast Guard at Houston-Galveston, told AP.

The Coast Guard emptied the remaining oil from the ship Sunday and started to contain the oil and skim it from the water.

Environmental groups are concerned about damage to wildlife, AP said. Fewer than 10 oil-covered birds had been recovered as of Monday morning, but major bird habitats are nearby and the peak of the migration season is coming soon.

The barge’s owner, Kirby Inland Marine Corp., is taking responsibility for cleanup costs, Jim Guidry, its executive vice president, told AP.