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Crude oil spill after ships collide

TEXAS: A crude oil spill in a southeast Texas port that happened when a tanker and towing vessel collided on Saturday was not expected to spread beyond a two-mile (3.2-kilometre) area, the US coast guard said. It was unclear exactly how much oil spilled into the water, but the coast guard said it could have...

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 24, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jan 24, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago

TEXAS: A crude oil spill in a southeast Texas port that happened when a tanker and towing vessel collided on Saturday was not expected to spread beyond a two-mile (3.2-kilometre) area, the US coast guard said.

It was unclear exactly how much oil spilled into the water, but the coast guard said it could have been as much as 450-thousand gallons (1.7 (m) million litres)

According to the coast guard, the tanker's crew said they pumped out 69-thousand barrels from the damaged tank which held 80-thousand barrels, leaving 11-thousand barrels, about 450-thousand gallons, unaccounted for.

But several local officials said only one thousand barrels, or about 42-thousand gallons (158-thousand litres), of oil had been spilt and said the rest may still be in the damaged tank.

The coast guard said the 800-foot (244-metre) oil tanker had collided with a towing vessel pushing two barges, leaving a gash 15-feet by 18-feet (4.5-metres by 2.5-metres) and damaging one of its oil tanks.

The tugboat also hit another tanker that was tied to a nearby pier but did not damage that one.

The damaged tanker, the Eagle Atome, is owned by AET Tankers, a Malaysian company with offices in Houston.

An AET statement said the company was working with authorities to determine exactly how much crude leaked out.

No one was injured in the collision at Port Arthur but the port was closed and some nearby residents were moved from their homes for about seven hours.

Port Arthur police told local media that fewer than 100 people had to move out because hydrogen sulphide, a hazardous gas with a rotten egg smell, was coming off the slick.

The mandatory evacuation order was lifted on Saturday evening.

Coast guard officials said the spill had been contained behind floating plastic barriers to a two-mile (3.2 kilometre) stretch of the Sabine Neches Waterway that runs along the city of Port Arthur.

The cause of collision was still under investigation. AGENCIES

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