More than 168,000 gallons of oil leaked into Galveston Bay over the weekend after a cargo ship collided with a barge on Saturday. As a result, the Houston Ship Channel was closed to traffic as four skimming boats worked to clean up the spill. In a fun bit of coincidence, the spill and cleanup effort have arrived just in time for Monday’s 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill.
Another 20 vessels responded on Sunday to remove cargo from the barge in order to raise it out of the water. It was carrying 924,000 gallons of fuel, meaning that it lost about 18 percent. That amount, according to The New York Times, is “seen as moderate by industry and environmental experts.”
Official expect parts of the channel to be closed for at least a week. The U.S. Coast guard says that 27 ships are waiting to enter from the Gulf of Mexico, and another 34 vessels are waiting to leave Galveston Bay. Local shops that profit off of the fishing economy in the area reported drastically lower sales than usual because of the spill.