Thursday, October 7, 2010

No waiting: Houston ship channel back in business

UPDATE 1-Coast Guard says no wait to exit Houston Channel

HOUSTON Oct 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard said no ships were waiting Thursday morning to leave the Houston Ship Channel, and 33 ships were lined up to enter the waterway to the busiest U.S petrochemical port after a three-day outage, which ended on Wednesday.

As many as 67 ships were waiting to enter or exit the waterway by the time early on Wednesday that workers had removed a leaning electrical highline tower that threatened to tumble into the waterway after being struck by a barge on Sunday morning.

Four Houston refineries were unable to receive crude oil by ship during the closure, but none said prodcution was cut during the wait that ended Wednesday when the first ships up the channel were crude tankers.

About 44 ships were waiting to enter the channel when it reopened on Wednesday morning and it might appear only 11 have moved up the channel, but the Coast Guard said several ships were added to the line waiting in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

"It's a consant flow," said a Coast Guard spokesman.

There are about 12 ships more than on a average day waiting to move into the channel, the spokesman said. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by John Picinich)



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