A collision on Saturday involving a laden tanker has closed the important Sabine/Neches waterway in Texas. The US Coast Guard said about 462,000 gallons of oil spilled into the water Saturday when the 1994-built, 95,663 dwt Eagle Otome collided with by a two-barge train being pushed by the tug Dixie Vengeance near Port Arthur, about 90 miles east of Houston. Reports suggest that the Singapore-flag tanker slewed to port in in the waterway and hit a berthed vessel before being hit on her starboard bow by the barges. All members of the crews from the three vessels involved were reported to be safe and accounted for.
A Coast Guard statement yesterday afternoon (Sunday 24 January) said that responders from the Unified Command established to clean up the oil spill had recovered about a tenth of the total amount thought to have escape in the waterway.
A statement says : “Fifteen skimming vessels continue to comb the waterway and recover more oil, and there are about 500 responders working both in the field and at the command post.”
The safety zone established in the Sabine-Neches Waterway now extends from the North Forty at the northern tip of Pleasure Island to Texas Point by the Sabine River jetties. No vessel may enter the safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port or his deputy. This restricts all recreational and commercial vessels from transiting the area. West-to-northwest winds and strong ebb currents are expected to move oil south of Mesquite Point over the next 24-36 hours.