Post Hurricane Harvey Recovery Update Corpus Christi Ship Channel Re-Opens After Record Six Day Closure

By Curious

The United States Coast Guard Captain of the Port yesterday signed Marine Safety Information Bulletin authorizing the restricted opening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel after a record six-day closure from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey.  This opening will allow the seven local refineries to startup operations in an effort to serve the already short transportation fuels markets in the region and the nation.

Post Hurricane Harvey Recovery Update Corpus Christi Ship Channel Re-Opens After Record Six Day Closure
Caption: Aerial view of the first tanker to travel through the Corpus Christi Ship Channel since Hurricane Harvey - Image courtesy of PoccaPort

The CC Ship Channel restrictions are:

  • One-way vessel movements
  • Daylight-only transits
  • Moving in convoy with 2-pilots per vessel
  • Draft restrictions of 43ft

As the Corpus Christi Ship Channels re-opens, the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots plan to start sailing the first vessel convoy at 1700 hrs.  The Port’s Harbor Masters Office in concert with Industry to prioritize the more than 20 vessels currently awaiting berth assignments.

The Port of Corpus Christi Emergency Operations Center, Security Command Center and Harbor Master’s Office continue under 24 hour operations orders until further notice.    

Hurricane Harvey has significantly impacted the entire Texas Gulf coast with the petroleum refining centers of Corpus Christi, Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Lake Charles Louisiana either completely shutdown or significantly scaled back operations. It is estimated only 25% of the refining capacity in the region is operational, which positions Corpus Christi as the largest refining center fully operational in the Texas Coast at this time.

Hurricane Harvey came ashore near Corpus Christi which resulting in primarily wind damage and loss of power to the Corpus Christi refining center rather than the flood damage currently impacting Houston, Beaumont, and Port Arthur refineries. Nearly 100% of power to the Corpus Christi refiners has been restored and the refineries are ramping up operations in an effort to serve the rest of the Texas first responders and consumer needs.  Petroleum pipelines to Corpus Christi must start moving product through the Port onto deep draft vessels so the refining center can ramp up to full operations.     

While overall Hurricane Harvey preliminary economic impacts in Corpus Christi remain uncertain, some key economic indicators include:

  • Port of Corpus Christi stakeholders generate $350 million per day in national economic output
  • Over $100 million per day of goods value move through the Port of Corpus Christi Authority
  • Over 80,000 jobs depend on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel
  • PCCA continues working toward achieving normal business operations by September 4th.

Port Police and Security Teams are maintaining all primary security access control points and are on both landside and marine patrol at all harbor facilities. The Port Police Department has received no reports of any vandalism or burglaries during this weather event. Access questions, security related issues, emergencies or spills should continue to be reported to the Security Command Center via normal channels.

Source: Port of Corpus Christi