A boat collision caused 168,000 gallons of oil to spill into the Port Of Houston near Galveston, Texas, over the weekend.
Texas officials said the spill is going to hit the state's economy and environment hard. For one, the 50-mile Houston Ship Cannel, one of the world's biggest waterways for transporting petroleum products and other materials, had to be shut down. Dozens of shorebirds, which are to begin their northward migration soon, are drenched in oil while a number have died. Galveston Bay's multibillion-dollar recreational and commercial fishing is shuttered during peak tourist season. Cruise ships can't depart from key ports. This is a snapshot of the disruption brought on by the spill.
Three days after the spill, 101 inbound and outbound vessels were still stuck in the channel, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick told CNN. Approximately 15.5 miles of shoreline have been impacted, and hundreds of cleanup workers are trying to resolve the spill.
The bunker fuel oil, used to propel oceangoing vessels, that sunk into the bay is thick and viscous, and it sticks to almost anything it touches. In effect, it's much more likely to impact wildlife estuaries, John Pardue, director of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute at Louisiana State University, told USA Today.
Authorities are still in the early stages of assessing total damage. As for marine life, which rely on the bay as an essential nursery, long-term monitoring within the footprint is necessary.
While this spill was induced by human error and relatively small, it has already been compared to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe from four years ago. Accidents are invariably part of the business in oil production, yet there are plenty of effective ways to reduce their likelihood. Remote equipment monitoring, for instance, can give companies an eye on on the quality and stability of machinery from miles away. Another solution is applying a strain gauge, which measures the wear and tear of mechanisms and notifies crews when maintenance is required. These type of preventative predictive maintenance slash away the risk of highly problematic oil spills.