Ship pilot in Houston channel collision says he did not see tug and oil barges until too late

GALVESTON, Texas – The pilot guiding a freighter into the foggy Houston Ship Channel when it crashed into an oil-filled barge earlier this year says he did not see the barge until it was too late to avoid a collision.

The tugboat captain said earlier Tuesday at a federal hearing investigating the accident that the larger vessel increased its speed and she couldn’t manoeuvr quickly to avoid the crash.

The pilot says he needed the speed to navigate strong currents.

No one was hurt in the March 22 accident, but nearly 170,000 gallons of oil spilled into the busy waterway between Texas City and Galveston and then into the Gulf of Mexico. Traces of the oil were found as far as 200 miles down the Texas coast.