The U.S. Coast Guard estimates as much as 168,000 gallons of oil has seeped into waters 12 miles off shore in Galveston Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. The leak occurred after a barge carrying about 900,000 gallons of heavy, tar-like oil collided with a ship in the Houston ship channel.
The barge collided with the cargo ship "Summer Wind." The barge had six crew members; two were taken to area hospitals after being exposed to deadly gas during the collision.
Officials say only one of six drums of oil on the barge was breached. The other five have been removed from the barge. Still, the collision and the subsequent attempt to contain the oil spill has caused a bottleneck in the busy shipping canal between Houston and the Gulf of Mexico.
Houston station KPRC reports that the collision occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 22. Cruise ships, including Princess Cruise's Caribbean Princess liner, have remained in the dock awaiting departure or at sea, awaiting a chance to dock.
The spill could affect 70,000 shore birds at the peak of their migration season, ABC News is reporting.