Editor's note: This article appeared in The Daily News' print addition today, but was inadvertently omitted from the online edition. 

GALVESTON — Cruise ships that had been stuck at the Port of Galveston after a Saturday oil spill closed the Houston Ship Channel, were cleaned and cleared to sail Tuesday on delayed and truncated voyages. But hundreds of passengers chose not to leave with the ships.

The sailings began after U.S. Coast Guard officials agreed to reopen the Houston Ship Channel, with restrictions, and the ships’ hulls had been cleaned of oil and inspected.

At about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Carnival Magic sailed out of Galveston on a five-day cruise with calls in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The original voyage was to have been a seven-day cruise scheduled to depart Sunday. Passengers who opted to proceed with the five-day cruise were receiving a two-day, prorated refund along with a 25 percent discount on a future cruise, spokesman Vance Guilliksen said. Initially, about 4,350 passengers were on the Carnival Magic, but about 930 chose not to sail on the shortened cruise, port officials say. Those who chose not to sail were offered a full refund, Guilliksen said.

Later Tuesday, the Carnival Triumph departed the island port. Triumph will operate a four-day cruise to Cozumel. It was originally scheduled to sail on a five-day voyage that was supposed to depart Monday. Guests who chose to sail on the shortened cruise are receiving a one-day prorated refund and a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.

As with the Carnival Magic scenario, those who chose not to sail were offered a full refund. Initially, about 3,150 passengers were on the Magic, but about 800 chose not to sail on the shortened cruise, port officials said.

Carnival ships are based year-round at the Port of Galveston. Carnival Magic operates seven-day cruises to the Caribbean and Carnival Triumph operates four- and five-day Mexico voyages.

Royal Caribbean International announced Monday night that its Navigator of the Seas’ cruise from Galveston had been canceled, but passengers would be allowed to stay onboard until Sunday and partake in food and entertainment. But port officials Tuesday evening said the Navigator planned to sail this morning. Typically, the Navigator, which sails year-round from the island, offers seven-night western Caribbean itineraries.

The ship channel was closed after more than 168,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil leaked from a damaged barge into Galveston Bay after a vessel collision Saturday near the Texas City Dike.

(6) comments

Miceal O'Laochdha

Tell us about the hull cleaning procedure (as practiced by the vessel involved in the Macondo well response?). How was the oil being cleaned from the ships' hulls contained?

George Croix

168000 gallons sure sounds a lot worse than 4000 barrels.

Steve Fouga

Take nine strides straight ahead. Imagine a container as long, high, and wide as the distance you just walked. That's how much oil was released into the water.

George Croix

It's roughly what the combined crude units at old BP used to process in about 13 minutes, give or take a bit.

Miceal O'Laochdha

It is a slightly more than the residual cargo left in a VLCC after all that can be discharged is pumped off and a dry tank certificate issued. The old SS Seawise Giant, for example, carried 1 million barrels of crude oil cargo. Pumping off 4,000 bbls. would not even change her draft marks.

But,for spills in the Bay and the Gulf today, that amount is substantial. Up until the 1970's the amount of heavy oil that was spilled here would be intentionally pumped directly overboard at the dock in US ports on a daily basis, as matter of course, whenever tankers arrived in ballast and needed to empty their cargo tanks of seawater ballast in order to load product.

We have come a very long way in the effort to reduce pollution in a relatively short number of decades.

George Croix

I'd certainly agree with anyone that One gallon of oil in the water that didn't have to be there is too much, but the hysteria that local shysters manage to gin up, with some help, is a bit much when one considers the fact that a lot more oil than that gets into the water naturally. I would expect my actual losses to be compensated, not my dreams of financial security to be realized. The bottom feeders are already after 'punitive damages'. No doubt there will be a rash of migranes, back pain, and loss of consortium all the way to Lubbock. I can think of 45 thousand who can be easily induced to make liars of themselves.
The Gulf is full of natural seeps, as are the other areas of water on the planet, that account for far more oil into the water naturally.
Be a tough sell to sue Ma Nature for that...
http://oils.gpa.unep.org/facts/natural-sources.htm
Divide the gallons by 42 to get barrels. That's about 50 or 60 barrels each day at just this one location.
Perspective.

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