Big Ships Play Texas Chicken in Congested Houston Channel

The U.S. energy boom has turned a tiny bayou into one of the world’s most crowded waterways
Photo illustration by Alis Atwell; Source: Bloomberg(8), Alamy(1), Getty Images(2)

It takes an expert pilot to pull off the Texas Chicken. The maneuver requires two ships to chart a course for a head-on collision, then swerve right, and use each other’s wave pressure to move safely past. The Texas Chicken comes in handy when navigating the Houston Ship Channel, a narrow waterway that connects the city’s downtown with Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

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