Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Barge crashes into Texas bridge, Coast Guard responds to oil spill

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser, homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, transits toward the pier in Bridgetown, Barbados, June 7, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)
May 17, 2024

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday that a barge crashed into a bridge near Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday, causing as many as 2,000 gallons of oil to spill into the water.

In a Thursday press release, the Coast Guard said, “The U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating with local, state, and federal agencies in response to the Pelican Island Causeway allision in Galveston, Texas, Wednesday. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a report at 9:48 a.m. reporting a 321-foot barge, MMLP 321, allided with the Pelican Island Causeway. The MMLP 321 was reported to be carrying 30,000 barrels of vacuum gas oil.” reported that while the MMLP 321 barge had a 30,000-barrel capacity, the vessel was only holding 23,000 barrels of oil at the time of Wednesday’s collision. Rick Freed, vice president of Martin Marine, which operates the barge, told reporters that the only tank compromised in the collision with the bridge was holding roughly 160,000 gallons of oil.

Coast Guard Capt. Keith Donohue added, “We’re pretty confident there was much less oil introduced to the water than we initially estimated.”

READ MORE: Videos: Bridge collapses in major cargo ship crash; search and rescue underway 

According to The Associated Press, David Flores, A Galveston County Navigation District bridge superintendent, said Wednesday’s accident was caused when a tugboat operator lost control of two barges it was pushing. “The current was very bad, and the tide was high,” Flores stated. “He lost it.”

The MMLP 321 barge crashed into a supporting pillar of the Pelican Island Causeway span, resulting in a partial collapse of the bridge, which serves as the only connection between Galveston and Pelican Island.

In a Friday update regarding Wednesday’s collision, the Coast Guard noted that initial estimates pointed to 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of vacuum gas oil entering the Galveston Ship Channel. The Coast Guard confirmed that the Texas bridge was damaged in the collision and that residents and businesses on Pelican Island were relocated, allowing the bridge to be reduced to “outbound vehicular and foot traffic only.”

The Coast Guard also confirmed that the barge was no longer discharging any oil into the water.

“To reduce spread of the spilled oil, more than 16,000 feet of protective boom has been placed in areas around Pelican Island, Swan Lake, and surrounding the damaged barge,” the Coast Guard added. “U.S. Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office crews are assessing impacts on the west shoreline side of Pelican Island.”