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Bayou Lafousche /Barge PC 2901

Upper Galveston Bay, Houston Ship Channel, Texas | 1973-Mar-09

Initial Notification: On March 9, 1973 at approximately 1326, the tank vessel T/V Mayo Lykes collided with the Bayou Lafousche/Barge PC 2901. The bow of the T/V Mayo Lykes, penetrated the port bow of the barge at a 45-60 degree angle, and almost cut the barge in two. Only the starboard outer skin of the barge held the vessel together. A large quantity of the 23,000 barrels of Louisiana crude oil and Bunker C spilled into the water upon impact. Later estimates reported 10,000 barrels of pollutant spilled into the water. Part of the spilled amount was released in the collision while the remainder leaked from the damaged tanks over the next several days. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were extremely adverse. Extensive fog, winds of 30-35 knots with 40 knot gusts, and seas of 3-4 feet hampered early containment attempts. Since the owner and operator of the damaged barge denied any responsibility in cleaning up the oil, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) personnel began cleanup operations using the Oil Spill Contingency Fund. Brine Service Company was the primary cleanup contractor from March 12 until March 18 when Clean Channel Industries became the principal contractor, focusing on beach cleanup. After March 12, the USCG took on a strictly supervisory and monitoring role while contract personnel performed the actual cleanup. Two days after the spill, the local Audubon Society, with USCG assistance, collected and cleaned approximately 400 oil soaked Eared Grebes. The 320 surviving birds were released in an unpolluted area selected by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Texas Department of Health, EPA Region 6, and Texas A&M University conducted ecological and pollutant studies in the affected area. Preliminary results showed little long-term adverse effect to the environment. Active cleanup continued until April 6 when the case officially closed, however cleaning on Atkinson and Bulkhead Reef Islands to the east of the Houston Ship Channel continued until the week of April 9. USCG district 8. Keyword: Collision, boom, vacuum truck, vacalls, oil mop machines, hand mops, sawdust, Sorbent C, sorbent pillows, skimmer, filter fence, adverse weather conditions, contingency plan..

Incident Details
Products of concern:Louisiana crude, Bunker C
Total amount at risk of spill: 420,000 gallons
Latitude (approximate): 29° 38.00′ North
Longitude (approximate): 94° 58.00′ West