News & Media

14 November, 2019

North America - Sabine/Neches Ships Channel Closure

WGMA Maritime Association has just issued the following statement:

The US Coast Guard MSU Port Arthur’s Vessel Traffic Service held a Port Coordination Team conference call today at 1300 hours in order to address traffic concerns due to a channel closure resulting from an early morning collision inside the Sabine Jetties. 

Your Maritime Affairs team participated on the call and has the following report:

The USCG Captain of the Port advised:

  • There was a collision between an ATB (articulated tug-barge) and OSV (offshore supply vessel) inside the Sabine Pass jetties early this morning, resulting in significant damage to the OSV, with fuel leaking into the water. 
  • The ATB has been moved from the scene but the OSV is still there, and there is a sheen being reported. 
  • Response personnel are on the scene.
  • The ship channel is currently closed to all traffic. 

The salvage team is trying to remove the OSV from the waterway ASAP in order to fully open the channel later this afternoon.

If the OSV cannot be safely removed today, the USCG plan to open the channel for one-way traffic. This will be a last resort decision because it is preferable to remove the damaged vessel, so that wakes do not cause additional problems with it.

The weather forecast is good through Monday, so that does not appear to be a factor.

Sabine Pilots reported:

  • They currently have 9 vessels awaiting inbound transit, and 9 awaiting departure. 
  • Once the channel is reopened, they will start some inbound traffic destined to the lower channel region ahead of the daylight-restricted outbound vessels, then move the other inbound traffic either tonight or, if limited to one-way traffic, then beginning at first light tomorrow morning.
  • If one-way traffic is implemented, there will be no passing/overtaking allowed in the vicinity of the damaged vessel.

The US Army Corps of Engineers will have survey assets in the area on Saturday morning in order to confirm there are no obstructions or shoaling in the area resulting from this situation.

If the OSV cannot be removed today there will be another PCT conference call tomorrow to update on the situation.

If you have any questions, please contact the local office at:

Phone: +1 409 7270588