Oil spilled at east Texas port as ships collide
PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) — As much as 450,000 gallons of crude oil spilled in a southeast Texas port Saturday after two vessels collided, the U.S. Coast Guard said. No injuries have been reported, but part of the port has been closed and some nearby residents have been evacuated.
Port Arthur police Sgt. Ken Carona told television station KFDM that fewer than 100 people were evacuated from the area because of hydrogen sulfide – a hazardous gas with a rotten egg smell – that was emanating from the oil.
He told the station that people will be allowed back when the levels go down.
While the Coast Guard said around 450,000 gallons of oil were spilled, Carona says only about 40,000 gallons of oil were spilled.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Renee Aiello told The Association Press that the crude spilled at the Port of Port Arthur when a 600-foot tanker carrying oil collided with a towing vessel pushing a loaded barge. The Coast Guard was notified of the collision around 9:50 a.m., she said.
The crash left a 15-by-8-foot hole in the tanker, Aiello said. The towing vessel then ricocheted and hit another tanker that was tied to a pier. Aiello didn’t know what damage was caused to that ship.
Aiello said a portion of the oil in the damaged tank has been moved to another holding tank on the ship.
Port Arthur is about 90 miles east of Houston.