Houston Ship Channel reopens for daytime traffic

DALLAS (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says the Houston Ship Channel has reopened for daytime traffic after flammable chemicals seeped into the waterway from a nearby petrochemical storage facility that caught fire.

Capt. Richard Howes said Wednesday that the previously closed portion of the commercial waterway is now operating during the day but will close at night. Passing ships will continue to be inspected for chemicals on their hulls.

The channel is one of America’s busiest shipping lanes. Part of it was closed after a fire erupted on March 17 at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park. The fire burned for days and triggered air quality warnings.

A dike adjacent to the facility failed, allowing chemicals to seep into nearby bayous and then the ship channel.

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Howes says it’s unclear when the channel will fully reopen.