Houston ship channel reopens
The U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Houston Ship Channel Wednesday following the partial collapse of a tower carrying power lines that was hit by a barge on Sunday.
The waterway was opened to limited vessel movements at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. At about 7 a.m., the channel was opened to Houston Pilot Association piloted vessel transits including outbound ship transits, outbound tow transits, and inbound ship transits. The ship channel remained closed to inbound tow transits until about 11:30 a.m. when it was opened to all vessel traffic.
Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service, which manages vessel movement within the Houston Ship Channel region to ensure efficiency and safety, was working to clear the backlog of 45 inbound ships and 19 outbound ships.
CenterPoint Energy has disconnected all 14 power lines and is in the process of cutting the remaining legs on the structure. After the structure is separated from its base, Big John Marine will use the large crane on-scene to safely remove the structure.
Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston was notified at 6 a.m. Sunday that a barge had struck high-line electrical structure 197 in Baytown. The tower supports power lines that cross the Houston Ship Channel.
AEP, the responsible party for this incident, owns the towing vessel Safety Quest. The vessel was pushing three barges loaded with scrap metal when it struck the tower.