The fun involved with getting on a boat and participating in other water related recreational activities often causes us to forget that boats are motor vehicles too, and they have the same risks as the operation of car driven on the road. Recently in Mont Belvieu, which is just east of Houston, three men lost their lives while they were aboard a fishing boat when an intoxicated individual crashed a ski boat into them. Tragic incidents like this are a sobering reminder of the hidden dangers that exist as more people go on vacation now that summer is here.
On March 9, the medium range tanker Carla Maersk collided with the supramax bulk carrier Conti Peridot in the Houston Shipping Channel off Morgan's Point. While news sources report no injuries, the collision ruptured Carla Maersk's tanks, spilling thousands of barrels of the flammable chemical MTBE. The spill caused the shutdown of an 8-mile portion of the 50-mile waterway for nearly two days, and resulted in a "shelter-in-place" order for residents of Morgan's Point.
The recent spill of 168,000 gallons of heavy oil into the Houston Ship Channel creates immediate and obvious environmental concerns. In addition, it has disrupted shipping for several days, with the channel only now being partially reopened.