TEXAS CITY – Officials overseeing the cleanup from an oil spill that happened a month ago near the Texas City Dike expect cleanup efforts will wrap up this week.
It was March 22 when a barge carrying about a million gallons of heavy fuel oil collided with a cargo ship at a point where the Houston and Texas City ship channels intersect with the Intracoastal Waterway. More than 168,000 gallons — or 4,000 barrels — of the sticky oil spilled from the breached hull of the barge. The oil slick drifted from Galveston Bay into the Gulf of Mexico, coming ashore along the east end of Galveston before shifting down the Texas Coast.
The spill response, which at one point topped more than 800 workers and volunteers, focused on keeping the oil away from wildlife and cleaning up what did come ashore.
Last week, Seawolf Park and East Beach in Galveston as well as the last two miles of the Texas City Dike reopened to the public. All were closed so crews could clean up oil.
Crews continue to clean up oil that washed up south of Matagorda Island. That effort is expected to be done by the end of the week, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Amanda Emery said Monday.
What’s left to be determined is who is responsible for the collision between the Kirby Inland Marine-owned barge and tugboat and the cargo ship Summer Wind.
Since Kirby was hauling the oil, the company is listed as the “responsible party,” meaning it is footing the bill for the cleanup.
A Coast Guard investigation will determine who was at fault in the collision. That investigation could take several more months, officials said.
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