Barge Collision Results in Fire and Closure of Texas Intracoastal Waterway

Barge Collision
Photo: KTRK13 Video Screenshot

The early Monday morning collision of two barges near the Houston Ship Channel left one vessel on fire and a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway closed.

A tugboat that lost power in its engine, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle, towed one of the barges. That barge then drifted into another barge pulled by a second tugboat. The collision occurred around 1:20 a.m. Monday.

The collision occurred near the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel. This is the entrance to one of the world’s largest seaports. The collision did not affect traffic in the ship channel.

A barge loaded with naphtha caught fire. Fire boats rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire after several hours.

The Intracoastal Waterway was closed by the Coast Guard from marker 348 to the Houston Ship Channel. It is not known when the Intracoastal Waterway will re-open. The Houston Ship Channel remains open for traffic.

Naphtha is a colorless liquid that smells like gasoline or kerosene, according to a report on KTRK13 in Houston. The chemical can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, along with dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and nausea. The Coast Guard told KTRK13 there were no reported injuries.

Coast Guard spokesman Andy Kendrick told KRTK13 that about one-million gallons of the liquid on board the barge burned. He said the Coast Guard will assess the possible environmental impact of the collision today. He said they do not anticipate any danger to residents in the area.

In March, 2014, Breitbart Texas reported on the last barge collision that occurred in the Houston Ship Channel. That collision resulted in the spillage of approximately 168,000 gallons of oil. Cleanup of that spill lasted for several weeks as crews worked from Galveston to Padre Island to remediate the damage to Texas beaches and wildlife.

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.