GALVESTON — Ferry service between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula resumed this morning with two of the water highway's boats running.
The main connection between the island and peninsula had been shut down since Saturday night after a barge that collided with a ship leaked more than 168,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into Galveston Bay.
The collision happened near the end of the Texas City Dike and the heavy fuel oil spread southward and into the ferry lane.
State transportation officials announced Monday afternoon that ferry service would resume on a limited bases. Ferry service, for now is limited to traffic between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. until conditions improve.
The first ferry, the Robert H. Dedman, boarded at about 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday and took off a few minutes later. The Ray Stoker Jr. left the ferry landing not long after.
Signs driving onto the ferry from Galveston warned motorists about possible oil-filled spray coming up as the ferry made its way between the island and peninsula. The signs also instructed passengers to remain in their cars.
As vehicle's loaded the ferry, crews kept them back from the very front of the boats. They also didn't fully enforce the stay in your car rule because a few people got out of their cars to take in the views including a very nice sunrise.
Water along the route appeared clean with few remnants of the oil that covered Galveston Bay and area ship channels for most of the past three days.
The U.S. Coast Guard was working to reopen, at least partially, the Houston and Texas City Ship Channels. It was hoped some shipping traffic could resume today.
More than 80 ships have been stuck at sea or at port since the Kirby Inland Marine barge and a heavy hauler ship collided at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The collision happened at an area where the Houston Ship Channel, Texas City Ship Channel and Intracoastal Waterway intersect called the Texas City Y.
Shipping lanes through those channels has been closed since the collision. That effectively shut down the Port of Houston and Ports of Texas City, the largest petrochemical ports in the country.