<SMALL>0:52</SMALL> The U.S. Coast Guard says about 450,000 gallons of crude oil has spilled into the Port of Port Arthur area in southeast Texas after two vessels collided. Video courtesy of Fox News.
One of the barges tore a hole on the side of the tanker vessel Eagle Otone just before 10 a.m. CST, spilling 11,000 barrels of crude oil, said Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O’Berry. Mr. O’Berry said that there were no injuries reported among the crews of the vessels. He added that the Port Arthur waterway was closed to both incoming and outbound traffic pending further assessment of the situation. “It’s a major spill and we’re ready to respond to that,” Mr. O’Berry said.
Port Arthur, located about 90 miles east of Houston, is home to key fuel-producing facilities such as the 275,000-barrel a day Motiva refinery, jointly owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Arabian Oil Co; Total SA’s 174,000 barrels a day refinery, and Valero Energy Corp.'s 310,000 barrels a day refinery.
The spill is the second to afflict Texas in recent times; in October, a supply vessel crashed against a Liberian-flagged oil tanker, resulting in a 18,000 gallon oil spill–equivalent to about 429 barrels of oil.
Mr. O’Berry said that currently there was not an estimate of how many vessels are waiting to come into port due to the incident. Local media reported that about 100 people had been evacuated from the area by local authorities.
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