Galveston Bay oil spill responders were able to stay out on the water and on the beaches Thursday as weather conditions were not as severe as the U.S. Coast Guard had feared.
“There was not a significant slowdown,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Kimberly Smith of the cleanup.
But because of rough seas, some of the boats responding to the oil spill Wednesday were called in and moored. They were getting back out on the water on Thursday as conditions improved, Smith said.
Cleanup crews continued to focus on areas where oil can be recovered and on priority areas, such as locations were migratory birds congregate, Smith said.
Also, decontamination of everything from deep draft ships to fishing boats and recreational boats continued Thursday, Smith said.
At Harbour House Marina on Thursday, afternoon decontamination crews placed a “sausage” boom around a pair of privately owned pleasure boats.
Heavy oil was visible on the hull of two of the boats, which crews cleaned by hand. The boom was placed around the boats to collect any oil that may fall into the water, said Shaun Haskins, marine science technician second class with the U.S. Coast Guard.
While oil spill responders continued to work in the Galveston Bay area, others moved south to deal with oil working its way toward Matagorda Bay.
Responders in the Texas City-Galveston area have removed a notable portion of the about 168,000 gallons of the marine fuel oil, Coast Guard officials said, but some oil was pushed out to the Gulf of Mexico and is now potentially moving to the southwest.
The Unified Command, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine, the owner of the barge from which the oil was spilled, established a base in Port O’Connor to coordinate protection of the environment of the Matagorda Bay area.
There are almost 1,500 people responding to the spill, just more than 200 of them in Matagorda Bay area and the remainder in the Galveston Bay area, Smith said.