UK & World News
Massive Oil Spill In Houston Bird Sanctuary
A big clean-up operation has begun after a barge carrying nearly one million gallons of thick oil collided with a ship in a popular bird sanctuary.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick said it is not known how much marine fuel oil, also known as special bunker, has spilled in Galveston Bay, near Houston, Texas.
At least one of the vessel's tanks - which each carry up to 168,000 gallons of oil - was holed, and a large slick was visible on the surface.
The barge, owned by Kirby Inland Marine, was being towed from Texas City to Bolivar when it collided with the 585ft-long ship Summer Wind.
Mr Kendrick said skimmers are trying to recover the oil and a boom is in place to protect the area's environmentally-sensitive mud flats.
The remaining oil is being removed from the sunken barge.
People worked through the night with infrared cameras to locate and skim the oil.
Jim Suydam, a spokesman for the General Land Office, said the oil is "sticky, gooey, thick, tarry stuff."
"That stuff is terrible to have to clean up," he said.
Richard Gibbons, conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society, said: "The timing really couldn't be much worse since we're approaching the peak shorebird migration season."
He said tens of thousands of wintering birds are in the area.