Fuel Spill and Fire Closes Ship Channel for 15 Hours

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fuel spill and fire closes ship channel

Authorities shut down a Houston Ship Channel for 15 hours after a fuel spill and fire ignited. 

The channel was re-opened at 3:30pm the next day when an overflight showed that the fuel had mostly burned or evaporated. 

The fuel leak and fire started when a crude oil tanker was leaving a dock after unloading cargo.  It hit something, most likely a sewer pipe, and began leaking fuel.  The tanker leaked about 90,000 gallons of fuel and then it caught fire.  

The fuel was a low-sulfer marine gas oil (similar to diesel).  The spill will likely have a small environmental impact.  The type of fuel that spilled, floats.  Most of it burned off, evaporated, or was cleaned.

"If you had to spill, this would be the one that would dissipate the quickest," said Scott Gaudet, Texas General Land Office Director.

The fire burned for 45 minutes and shot flames 200 feet into the air.  "It was just incredible that there was no loss of life," said Gaudet.

The shut down blocked entry of 10 ships by noon.  It is the busiest ship channel in the nation.

Click here to read the full story. 

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