[LEFT]HOUSTON (Dow Jones)–The Houston Ship Channel, a major thoroughfare for waterborne cargo, has closed because of heavy fog, a dispatcher said Tuesday.The channel was closed to all traffic at about midnight local time, the dispatcher said.About a dozen ships were waiting to enter the channel and another dozen to leave, the dispatcher added.The ship channel is an important thoroughfare for cargo entering and leaving the Gulf of Mexico.The channel serves the Port of Houston, a major port for the U.S. refining industry. It’s one of the largest U.S. ports for foreign waterborne tonnage, according to the Port of Houston Authority.[I]-By Ben Lefebvre, Dow Jones Newswires[/I][/LEFT]
When it opened they had 40 ships waiting
This isnt exactly the first time the Houston ship channel have been closed this time of year. A few months ago we where lying stuck at Exxon due to weather conditions and suddenly the weather conditions seemed to improve. We got permission to cast of and sail to Vopak DP, but just after we had let go the tugs the fug became so thich that you could cut it with a knife. Visibility was less than 500feet as we couldnt even se our foremast.
Last year the channel where closed and the wind outside gusted at 70knots with a 50knot average. There where more than 50 ships waiting outside and at least 20 of them started dragging on their anchors. Luckily this happened at around 10AM so the response time to get the engines running where minimal.