Despite earlier optimism, the channel will remained closed overnight and the next update will be at 9 a.m. 3/25.
If you want to check the status of your vessels here is the link:
Here is the announcement:
The Houston Ship Channel remains closed and is likely to remain closed overnight.
Reconnaissance is ongoing, however early results show oil in the jetties in amounts that are recoverable. In addition, the waning daylight, gathering fog, and nature of night transits mean that the Coast Guard is unlikely to lift channel restrictions today. USCG Waterways Management notes that oiling in the vicinity of the jetty means that USCG will keep the safety zone in effect to the environmental impact.
The Port Coordination Team met on a conference call this afternoon to ensure that industry priorities were communicated to USCG, Houston Vessel Traffic, and the Pilot organizations. To assist with planning for facilities which face material shortages, the PCT is coordinating vessel scheduling in conjunction with industry representatives (terminals, oil, refineries, containers, etc). In addition, the PCT is looking at outbound cargo coming out of the Houston Ship Channel which may have impact on plant operations in Port Arthur and Freeport. Coast Guard Houston-Galveston has noted that “we’re working hard to move whatever traffic is possible”, and the Vessel Traffic Service has explained that they are looking at allowing vessels to shift within the port on a case by case basis outside of the safety zones (above Redfish island).
The National Weather Service reported that low ceilings currently exist at Galveston which may give way to showers cutting across the region. The front, which should pass through by midnight, means that wind will begin to increase to the E/SE at speeds potentially over 20 knots which would be enough to issue a Small Craft Advisory. In addition, by Wednesday/Thursday, NWS expects more showers to begin in the area.
Though initial reports showed uncontaminated ferries, the most recent data did show an amount of contamination, so the ferries will not move until at least tomorrow. In addition, there remain several harbor tugs in the safety zone which require decontamination, and operators are reminded to please contact Houston Vessel Traffic at (281) 464-4837 to begin the reporting process.
The next PCT call will be tomorrow morning at 0900, and we will keep you apprised of any updates before then.