The Port of Houston has a massive effect on the surrounding local and state level economy. As of 2015, the Port of Houston and Houston Ship Channel-related businesses employ nearly 1,200,000 people and help earn over $250 billion dollars annually. Due in part to the massive impact of the Port of Houston, the state of Texas is the top exporting state in the country.
The Houston Ship Channel is considered the busiest port in the United States in terms of foreign tonnage. It hosts a wide range of vessels and is home to some of the world’s largest oil refineries including ExxonMobil’s Baytown Refinery. The 52-mile long Houston Ship Channel welcomes barges, tankers, container, and other types of cargo-carrying vessels. With so much traffic and activity, there are bound to be occasional accidents and injuries in the port, sometimes causing the port to be temporarily shut down.
According to an article from the Houston Chronicle, of the 52 incidents that have occurred in the Port of Houston, only about one quarter of them have been formally investigated and only one pilot has had their license revoked for a failed drug test, not an actual accident.
Over the years, there have been a number of large scale maritime accidents at the Port of Houston that included injuries to workers and damage to vessels.
Maritime Accidents in the Houston Ship Channel
October 2010: A set of barges collided into an electrical tower at the narrowest point in the Houston Ship Channel causing the port to be shut down for a number of days. At the time, the Port of Houston was the second-largest shipping complex with approximately 60 ships moving through the port each day. Since vessels from the Port of Houston move to and from every state, it’s closure can have a devastating impact on companies waiting on vessels. While it was unclear how the accident occurred, crew members from the towing vessel responsible were tested for drugs and alcohol.
October 2011: Greek-flag Tankship Elka Apollon collided with containership MSC Nederland in the Houston Ship Channel resulting in $1.3 million in damages. No injuries were reported.
June 2012: A collision occurred between bulk carriers Mary Ann Hudson and Star Grip. No injuries or pollution were reported but damages totaled over $500,000.
March 2014: Bulk Carrier Summer Wind the Miss Susan Tow collided in the Houston Ship Channel in Lower Galveston Bay, Texas. The collision resulted in a fuel oil spill into the Port of Houston and two crew members suffered injuries related in inhalation.
July 2014: The Anna Smile, a 238-foot bulk carrier was maneuvering while docking and ran into the Louis Dreyfus Grain Elevator in the Houston Ship Channel. Although there were no reported injuries or pollution, the incident resulted in approximately $2.5 million in damages.
March 2015: The Port of Houston was shut down for a days following a collision between two 600-foot ships. the double-hulled tanker Carla Maersk and bulk carrier Conti Peridot collided due to visibility issues and heavy fog, leaving the Carla Maersk punctured and leaking MTBE, a gasoline additive, into the port.
May 2015: A cargo worker suffered multiple injuries after falling 50+ feet into a cargo hold of a ship in the Port of Houston. The victim had to take a LifeFlight helicopter to a local hospital.
July 2015: Two barges collided in the Houston Ship Channel while being pulled by tug boats. One tug lost power causing the collision which caused the petroleum naphtha onboard to catch fire and spill into the channel. No injuries were reported in this incident.
Port of Houston Accident Attorneys
Our port accident lawyers represent clients in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and across the Gulf Coast. Keith Lapeze and Chris Johns have recovered millions for clients injured on the job. If you’ve been injured while working in the Port of Houston, or another US port, contact the maritime injury lawyers at Lapeze & Johns, PLLC today.