Ships Docked as Houston Ship Channel Remains Closed | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Ships Docked as Houston Ship Channel Remains Closed



    (Published Tuesday, March 25, 2014)

    Crews have strung miles of floating barriers to keep oil away from the shoreline and bird habitats in Galveston Bay following a weekend oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel.

    As many 170,000 gallons of oil poured from a barge that was struck by a ship.

    In addition to the threat to wildlife and the ecology, the spill has forced the closure of the channel and stranded about 80 ships that need to get through. No timetable has been set to reopen the shipping channel after the tar-like oil spilled into the Texas waterway.

    A Keller couple is among the thousands of passengers stranded on board the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas cruise ship, stuck at port because of the oil spill.

    The ship can carry as many as 3,114 passengers.

    “I mean, we’re all kind of disappointed by the fact that we’re not leaving," said Jessie Woodward of Keller. "However, I think they’ve given us enough activities to try to keep us occupied."

    “Bingo is a pretty huge hit. It was pretty much standing room only bingo," said Daniel Woodward.

    There is one of four cruise ships still tied up at the pier late Monday - three in Galveston, another in Houston.

    “You can see streaks of oil where the ship would be going, it kind of looks like if you poured laundry detergent in the water kind of like that sheen you know, oil and water separation," said Daniel Woodward.

    “The consensus is this is kind of past the point of ridiculous, I don’t know how they can fix this," Daniel Woodward said. "How long should we sit at the port before they call it, we’re already a full day behind."

    Their cruise was set to begin late Sunday afternoon, but at about 8 p.m. Monday, Royal Caribbean canceled the cruise. Navigator of the Seas assengers will get a full refund, but they can stay aboard the ship if they want for the rest of the week.

    Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, with 3,354 passengers on board since Saturday, remains tied up in Houston. Passengers have been given a full refund and a 25 percent discount on a future trip.