Chemical Leak Near Houston Port

Published By : 10 Mar 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

An area of the Houston Ship Channel was sealed off on Monday after flammable liquid leaked into the waters when two 600 foot ships crashed into each other in the fog.

MTBE is a gasoline additive that was stored on board the Carla Maersk, a Danish flagged chemical tanker. The chemical leaked after the storage vessel was ruptured. Carla Maersk had collided with the 623 foot Conti Peridot, a Liberian bulk container. The report was made by Manda Emery, a Coast Guard Petty Officer.

Three cargo tanks aboard the Carla Maersk were ruptured and caused a released of the gasoline additive. The total quantity of MTBE leaked is currently unknown, according to Captain Brian Penoyer, commander of the Coast Guard District of Houston Galveston.

He said that the chemical spill is not going to be easy to clean up.

Vessel crew is examining the tanks to gauge the exact amount of chemical spilled across the 50 mile channel. The channel connects the Houston Port to the Gulf of Mexico.

The leak was stopped nearly 90 minutes after the Coast Guard received news about the collision. The news was conveyed at 12:40 p.m., said Emery.

There have been no injuries reported in the collision. Officials have requested the 350 residents of Morgan’s Point to remain in their houses. Officials also stopped all activities at the Barbours Cut Terminal, the point where cargo vessels are loaded and unloaded.

The EPA said that MTBE is a highly flammable, volatile, and colorless liquid that dissolves easily in water. Its function as a gasoline additive is to increase the oxygen content.

Emery also said that it was a bit too soon to simply blame rain and fog for the collision. She also said that they will have a long and thorough investigation on marine casualty following the incident.
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