Cleanup efforts continue in Houston Ship Channel as products being recovered from crash

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter, Megan Kennedy - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - The cleanup continues in the Houston Ship Channel after a ship crashed into two barges on Friday.

Officials estimate nearly 9,000 barrels of reformate spilled into the water after the collision. 

Reformate is a refined product that is blended with gasoline to boost octane to achieve levels needed for commercial sales.

It is an extremely flammable liquid and vapor and can be fatal if it is swallowed. Reformate is toxic to marine life.

The other barge was significantly damaged, releasing the product inside, according to officials.

Investigators announced Sunday that the majority of the product spilled has evaporated. However, they say one area on the western shore of Galveston Bay was impacted and they are not in the process of cleaning the area. 

WATCH: Officials give update on cleanup efforts in Ship Channel 

Offloading the remaining product from that damaged barge has started. That process is estimated to take 24 to 38 hours to complete. Meanwhile, the capsized barge will take some special equipment. 

"We continue to make good progress on the response efforts. Or objectives remain the same insuring the public safety is our top priority. As well as securing the barges, booming and removing any product. And reopening the ship channel," said Capt. Kevin Oditt, with U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Ship Channel reopened Saturday for towing vessels and Sunday morning that channel opened for deep-draft ships using tug boats to minimize wake near the collision scene. 

Numbers you need to know: 

A 24/7 hotline to report strong gasoline odors and waterway contamination: 281-757-3017

 A 24/7 claims hotline: 800-241-9010

GCHD hotline for health-related questions: 409-938-7221

Copyright 2019 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.