Federal Hearing on Texas Oil Spill Resumes

The captain of a tugboat whose barges collided with a cargo freighter in the Houston Ship Channel in March says the larger vessel increased its speed in foggy conditions and she couldn't turn quickly to avoid the crash.

No one was hurt in the March 22 accident but nearly 170,000 gallons of oil spilled into the busy waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Kelli Hartman of the Kirby Inland Marine tugboat Miss Susan said she calculated she had enough time to cross the channel pushing two barges between Texas and Galveston but the cargo ship Summer Wind had increased its speed.

She told federal investigators Tuesday the speed coupled with fog and the presence of two other vessels in the waterway meant it was too late to avoid a collision.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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