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Pilots stop boarding vessels on Houston Ship Channel on hurricane

Houston (Platts)--25 Aug 2017 1114 am EDT/1514 GMT


Pilots on the Houston Ship Channel ceased boarding all vessels Friday morning local time due to Hurricane Harvey making its initial assault on the Texas coast, a US Coast Guard report said.

Pilots had stopped boarding inbound vessels at noon Thursday, but continued boarding outbound ships to clear out the port in preparation for the hurricane's landfall.

Pilots stopped boarding all ships at 6:30 am CDT (1130 GMT) Friday.

Galveston pilots had a similar situation.

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"We haven't moved a ship since noon [Thursday]," a dispatcher said. "We're not authorized to. The Coast Guard makes that decision."

Heading north along the Texas coast, pilots on the Sabine Pass and at Port Neches had normal traffic flows, with one daylight-restricted vessel starting the inbound transit at 5:00 am. No daylight-restricted ships were scheduled to set sail Friday, a port report said.

Daylight-restricted vessels are those whose width is so great another ship cannot pass alongside safely when transiting the waterway.

Lake Charles, Louisiana, also had normal traffic flows Friday morning, but service was expected to be interrupted at some point Friday as the weather worsened, a port report said.

The suspension of ship movements in the Houston Ship Channel affects the delivery and loading schedules of crude oil, petroleum, chemical and petrochemical products.

The 52-mile ship channel provides access from the Gulf of Mexico through Galveston Bay to various ports in Houston and other cities in the area that have many industrial facilities, including refineries, petrochemical plants and steel and metal facilities.

--John DeLapp, john.delapp@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jonathan Dart, jonathan.dart@spglobal.com




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