Houston ship channel temporarily closed after tanker fire

houston ship channel

The Houston Ship Channel, which links the busiest U.S. petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico, reopened on Monday afternoon after a fire-damaged ship blocking the waterway was moved to a berth, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The channel was blocked for about an hour after the small tanker Jo Kiri reported smoke in its engine room, according to the Coast Guard. No injuries were reported.

The Jo Kiri was headed north along the 53-mile (85 km) waterway and near Eagle Point when the fire broke out. The fire was extinguished as of 2:50 p.m. CST (2050 GMT).

The Jo Kiri, which usually carries petrochemicals, was headed to the Vo Pak terminal in the northern section of the channel, according to Reuters vessel tracking data.

The Jo Kiri is operated by privately held Jo Tankers AS, which was acquired by Stolt-Nielsen Ltd in November.

A spokesman for Stolt-Nielsen was not available to discuss the fire.

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