Salvage vessels Sunday finished pumping about 750,000 gallons of heavy marine fuel oil from a partially sunken barge that leaked thousands of gallons of thick, oozing sludge into Galveston Bay after a collision with a tanker.
Oil from the damaged barge spread as far 12 miles into Galveston Bay as wind and choppy water made containing the spill impossible, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.
A Unified Command of response agencies headed by the Coast Guard said last night that as much as 168,000 gallons could have spilled into the Houston Ship Channel. Twenty-four vessels spent the day skimming oil, and 69,000 feet of containment boom had been used to limit the oil’s spread.
But changing current, winds and weather conditions forced officials to extend containment and recovery plans further into the Gulf of Mexico and south along Galveston Island.