05 January 2011 16:43 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Traffic on the Houston Ship Channel was backed up early on Wednesday morning amid heavy fog, the US Coast Guard (USCG) said, only hours after traffic was stalled from a leakage of animal fat.
Petty Officer Richard Brahm said there were 17 vessels waiting inbound and 18 waiting outbound on the 53-mile (85 km) waterway leading from the Gulf of Mexico to Houston.
Meanwhile, Brahm said ship traffic was also stopped on Tuesday evening local time in a small northern section of the channel after the leakage of 15,000 gal (68,190 litres) of animal fat - beef tallow - from a storage container.
But the leak was contained by booms and traffic resumed early Wednesday, Brahm said.
"Lucky for us it's easy to clean up," Brahm said of the tallow, which leaked from a damaged tank owned by Jacob Sterns and Sons, a California-based agriculture company.
"The stuff solidifies at room temperature," Brahm added. "Once it hit the water it hardened up. So we're going to pick it up with pitchforks and shovels."
Brahm said there should be little or no environmental damage because of the material's near-solid condition. Initial estimates called for a three-day cleanup, but Brahm said a change in the weather could lengthen or shorten the cleanup.
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