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Carla Maersk. Photo via ShipSpottingcom


Two ships collided in the Houston Ship Channel yesterday causing a noxious leak of gasoline additive Methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE. In dense fog conditions, the Liberian bulk carrier Conti Peridot collided with Carla Maersk, a chemical tanker near Morgan’s Point.

Conti Peridot. Photo via Port & Vessel monitoring system.


MTBE, when in liquid form, will float on water and is toxic to both people and wildlife. Coast Guard urged people to stay away from areas contaminated with the strong-smelling, toxic substance.

Houston Ship Channel. Photo via US Army Corps of Engineers


USA Today: The Carla Maersk was carrying 216,000 barrels of the gasoline additive Methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, which began spilling into the water.

 Three cargo tanks on the vessel were ruptured, releasing an unknown quantity of the gasoline additive, said Coast Guard Capt. Brian Penoyer, commander of the Houston-Galveston Coast Guard District.

Crews were examining the vessel’s tanks to determine how much of the product may have been spilled into the 50-mile channel that connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Houston.

Read more from USA Today here…




An ice-covered ferry on Pier 11 along the East River in New York on Feb. 20, 2015. Photo via CBS News


East River Ferry service was completely suspended again yesterday due to the giant ice floes filling the waterway. [NY Post]

Heavy ice shut down service last Saturday for the first time since ERF launched in 2011, followed by an alert announcing suspended service on Monday, and again on Tuesday.

It’s been one hellava winter, that’s for sure.



NY Waterway who operates the East River Ferry said this is the worst winter they’ve seen in their 28-year history.

I don’t think anyone will disagree with that!


The New York Post: The East River Ferry, unlike boats on the Hudson River and the Staten Island Ferry, uses a jet engine. They have a harder time with ice than engines with propellers. Its boats are also smaller than other ferry services, which makes it difficult to push through ice.

A New York Waterway ferry navigates through ice on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in New York. Richard Drew / AP via The Times Union


“The funny thing about the East River … is that the tide changes multiple times per day, enabling ice to enter from different major bodies of water, making it nearly impossible to predict what it’s going to do, or where it’s going to be,” the company said in a statement, adding that it hopes its passengers won’t hate it.

Chunks of ice in the East River have been causing water-commute havoc. AP photo via The Daily Mail


NY Waterway has been using tugboats to clear ice for service on the Hudson River, but it has suspended service to Edgewater, New Jersey, and there are delays on its routes to Midtown.

Read more from The New York Post here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee, hat tip WHC steering committee member Chris Berg

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