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Houston Ship Traffic Stalled by Rough Seas, Coast Guard Says

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Traffic in the Houston Ship Channel, which leads to the largest petroleum port in the U.S., was stalled because of high seas.

The Houston Pilots, whose members guide tankers and other deep-draft ships through the channel, halted boardings yesterday at 10:40 p.m. local time, Coast Guard Lieutenant Junior Grade Michael Scott said today in a telephone interview.

The suspension stalled 39 ships, including 18 bound for Houston and 21 waiting to leave the port, he said. Seas too rough for pilots to board vessels safely were whipped up by a line of severe thunderstorms west of Houston, Scott said.

The National Weather Service posted a severe thunderstorm watch for 19 southeast Texas counties until 9 a.m. today, an area that includes Houston and Galveston.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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