Crews mopping up oil spill in Texas’ Galveston Bay

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
A barge carrying nearly a million gallons of marine fuel oil collided with a ship Saturday afternoon, springing a leak.

Officials believe only one of the barge’s tanks was breached.

TEXAS CITY, TX (AP) - Cruise ships and other vessels are backed up at one of the nation's busiest shipping channels after an oil spill in Galveston Bay in Texas Saturday.

From the air, it's easy to see the sheen of thick, heavy oil on the water, and it's a mess this morning.

Two dozen ships and an army of cleanup crews worked all night in a race to contain the 168,000 gallons of oil spilled when a ship collided with a barge over the weekend.

A big concern is the threat to the surrounding area, which is a popular habitat for shorebirds. Oil-soaked birds are beginning to show up. Officials say about ten have been recovered and taken to a rehabilitation facility.

The Houston Ship Channel remains closed this morning, blocking traffic to and from the port of Houston, one of the busiest in the world.

Dozens of ships are stranded. Among them are three cruise ships: the Caribbean Princess, still stuck at the dock in Houston this morning, the Carnival Magic, and Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas. The latter two had to delay their return to Galveston until last night, when the Coast Guard finally escorted them past the spill so passengers could disembark.

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