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Houston Shipping Channel Reopens

December 16, 2004

HOUSTON (AP) _ A section of the busy Houston Ship Channel reopened Thursday after workers cleaned up most of the 2,000 gallons of fuel oil that spilled when a chemical tanker collided with a barge moored at a dock.

The 544-foot tanker Ievoli Splendor was trying to dock at a terminal in Deer Park when it hit the empty barge Wednesday night. No injuries were reported.

A 1 1/2-mile section of the channel was closed and booms were used to contain the oil leaking from one of the ship’s fuel tanks.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

Some oil remained around the tanker Thursday afternoon, but the situation had improved enough to allow traffic to resume, Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Adam Wine said. About 15 vessels had been stranded by the shutdown, he said.

Last week, the lower section of the channel was temporarily closed after a tugboat crashed into a barge, causing a highly flammable gasoline component to leak into the water.

The 50-mile shipping channel connects the Port of Houston and dozens of petrochemical plants with the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the busiest waterways in the world.

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