The cargo ship Genius Star VII collided with a barge carrying a lot of fuel oil in the Houston Ship Channel, Friday, March 15, 2014. Although the cargo vessel sustained damage, there were no reports for oil pollution or injured crew members. The incident in the Houston Ship Channel is investigated by the US Coast Guard. According to information from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City, the collision was reported 8:30p.m. (local time).
When the two vessels collided, the barge was carrying 840,000 gallons of fuel oil and the cargo ship Genius Star VII (394-foot) was carrying grain. The vessels sustained damage, but according to preliminary inspections are in stable condition. The barge had to be fully inspected for any fuel oil leak by the marine inspectors and marine casualty investigators from Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, any risk for the environment had to be eliminated. An investigation is in progress to determine what caused the collision between the cargo ship Genius Star VII and the barge.
Lt. Cmdr. Zeita Merchant, executive officer of Marine Safety Unit Texas City explained the situation:
"Due to the quick response of our marine safety professionals here at Texas City, a major environmental incident was avoided."
"We were able to direct the vessels to safe locations to assess the overall damage and ensure the safety of the maritime community."
The Houston Ship Channel is one of the busiest shipping routes in the United States. The collision could have led to an environmental disaster, fortunately the barge was slightly damaged. There is no traffic interruption on the Houston Ship Channel.