Federal hearing on Texas oil spill underway

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Associated Press

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 6:03 PM

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The pilot of a vessel towing barges on the Houston Ship Channel when two other vessels collided earlier this year and spilled almost 170,000 gallons of oil is describing a busy waterway where visibility the day of the accident was impeded by fog.

Brent May is the first witness Monday before a weeklong U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board hearing into the collision March 22 between Texas City and Galveston.

No injuries were reported but the spilled oil coated the shoreline of the southern end of Galveston Bay and flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. Oil traces were found more than 200 miles down the coast.

The accident also snarled traffic for five days along the ship channel, which serves the nation's largest petrochemical complex.

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