The crude oil tanker Aframax River caught fire near the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Houston Ship Channel after bunker tank was punctured by unidentified object. The vessel was under way with pilot on board and proceeding to the berth, but struck unidentified object and suffered breaches at the bunker tank, which extended into fire. Flames and thick black smoke billowing from area of the tanker. Some quantity of fuel was spilled into the channel and cause environmental pollution. The local authorities dispatched immediately two fire boats and succeeded to extinguish the flames within an hour. The Houston Ship Channel was closed between Cargil facility to the Cemex docks. The safety zone was established and traffic was hampered.
There is no report about injured people, but several tons of fuel spilled into the water and urged the authorities to start cleansing operations and to activate environment rescue plan. The investigation for the root cause of the accident is under way.
“The tanker had somehow developed a gash, which caused it to leak an unknown volume of fuel, which later ignited”, said the official statement of Coast Guard. “The tanker is thought to have hit a submerged sewer line, which caused the rupture”, adds the statement.
The crude oil tanker Aframax River (IMO: 9259173) was under ballast and maneuvered to berth at Intercontinental Terminals Company. The ship has overall length of 246.00 m, moulded beam of 42.00 m and maximum draft of 14.00 m. The deadweight of the tanker Aframax River is 107,132 DWT and the gross tonnage is 57,943 GRT. The ship was built in 2002 by Imabari Shipbuilding Saijo Dockyard in Japan. The owner and operator of the crude oil tanker is Greek company Aframax River Marine.
More from the accident:
Houston Ship Channel was reopened after bunker fuel spill [07/09]