Houston Ship Channel Has 76 Vessels Stalled, Coast Guard Says

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Seventy-six ships were waiting to pass through the Houston Ship Channel, which serves the largest U.S. petroleum port, after heavy fog halted traffic overnight, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

As of 4 p.m. local time, 52 ships were waiting to enter the port and 24 were waiting to depart, Chief Levi Campbell, the Coast Guard watch supervisor, said in a telephone interview.

Houston ship pilots began guiding vessels out of the port after the fog rolled out at about 11:30 a.m. local time, Campbell said.

Pilots for the ports of Galveston and Texas City resumed transits at 9:16 a.m. local time, he said. They have five ships waiting to arrive and one ship waiting to leave, Campbell said.

A dense fog advisory is in effect across southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. local time tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service website.

“As soon as that fog comes in, the pilots will probably shut it back down again,” Campbell said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net; Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net