Houston Ship Channel Open; Cleanup Equipment Moved Out of BayAP , Associated Press
Aug. 11, 1990 7:51 PM ET
GALVESTON, TEXAS GALVESTON, Texas (AP) _ Large ships were allowed to transit the Houston Ship Channel from both directions simultaneously Saturday for the first full day since a tanker collided with two barges, spilling 700,000 gallons of oil.
Meanwhile, salvage crews removed cleanup equipment from the bay, which has been cluttered with skimmers, vacuum trucks and booms since the July 28 accident. The cleanup ended Friday.
''We're trying to collect all the equipment for all of the contractors today,'' Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Mike Shoul said. ''Our overflight this morning failed to find any sign of the oil. We'll do a final assessment on Monday.''
A ban on shrimping in Trinity and Galbeston bays was lifted Friday, but orders against taking crabs and oysters remained in effect until laboratory tests for contamination of those species are completed this week.
The spill occurred when the Greek tanker Shinoussa collided with two barges under tow. One barge sank and the other ruptured, spilling heavy oil that threatened sensitive marshes, birds and other wildlife.
The sunken barge that had hampered traffic was freed of its cargo, refloated, and cut into scrap metal. It was removed from the shallow waters near the channel Friday afternoon.
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Robert Douville and National Transportation Safety Board investigator Allan Dreibelbis on Friday reconvened a federal probe so they could watch a home video made by a Georgia man who witnessed the accident.
''We hope it's going to help determine the relative positions of the vessels,'' Douville, an investigator with the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in New Orleans, said of the videotape.
Coast Guard officials said Saturday they did not expect to take further testimony.
Douville said the findings will be forwarded to the admiral of the Coast Guard's 8th District in about a month. Dreibelbis said his agency expected to take about six months to review the accident.
The Coast Guard estimated about 200,000 gallons of the oil was collected by skimmers and shoreline cleanup crews. The whereabout on the rest of the oil is unkown, officials said, though some evaporated.