A barge moving through Galveston Bay collided with another ship Saturday afternoon, spilling over 168,000 gallons of marine fuel oil. The spill is particularly devastating, even though it isn’t the largest in recent memory, because Galveston Bay is a migratory bird habitat and shorebird season is fast approaching. On top of that, the type of fuel that spilled is particularly difficult to clean up. The ship was being towed when it collided with the other vessel, though there are no details at this point on how the collision occurred.
The ship contained about 924,000 gallons of the thick, tarry fuel known as RMG 380, but officials say that only one of the barge’s tanks was breached. The six crew members on the ship are all accounted for and are in “stable condition” according to the Coast Guard. Although the wildlife habitats that surround the area are at risk from contamination, the nearby town of Texas City is reportedly not at risk.