Tanker collision, gasoline spill closes portion of Houston Ship Channel

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The Houston Ship Channel reopened to limited traffic on Sunday after a vessel collision dumped nearly 400,000 gallons of a gasoline ingredient and choked suburbs of the US city with noxious fumes. No injuries were reported as a result of the collision, which occurred just south of the Bayport Container Terminal in upper Galveston Bay.

The barges were transporting gasoline blend stock Reformate, which is leaking into the water, officials said.

"To date, those teams have taken over 1,300 samples and, in all cases, the samples taken have not exceeded the established action levels", said Craig Kartye of the oil spill prevention and response program at the Texas General Land Office.

League City said air monitoring is being conducted by Bayport Channel Collision Reponse, which provided the report below.

Crews are working to remove the gasoline product from the barges. The barges were pushing roughly 25,000 barrels of reformate each, according to officials.

It is unclear how much of the product has leaked into the water, officials said.

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"We know the air is coming this form".

Parts of the federally-owned shipping channel, which is the transitway for ships worldwide carrying crude oil and gas into Houston, remains closed.

The collision had halted all traffic between lights 61 and 75 on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard had said.

Residents in cities near the accident site have reported a strong gasoline smell.

Officials say the tested samples of Reformate don't pose a risk to local residents at this point and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is now monitoring nearby communities. As of 2 p.m. local time Sunday, 47 outbound vessels and 48 inbound vessels were waiting to pass through the channel.

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