WGMA Houston Ship Channel


PCT Call Update


Monday, May 6, 2024


Flood/High Water Situation



The US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston’s Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) held a Port Coordination Team (PCT) conference call this morning at 0900 hours to look at the situation on the Houston Ship Channel at the intersection with extreme high water and strong currents on the lower San Jacinto River.


As result of the outbound test vessels, the Houston Ship Channel was re-opened for ship traffic only at noon on Sunday May 5th between Lights 126 & 129 (around the Lynchburg Ferry, at the mouth of the San Jacinto River).


Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team participated on the call and has the following report for our membership:


National Weather Service:

·     The San Jacinto River at Sheldon is on a steady/gradual falling trend, but above restriction criteria most of the work week. Anticipated to decrease below 8ft by Thursday.

·     Look for higher than normal currents/flow from discharge into the ICWW as well-especially East of Freeport into Louisiana.

·     Improving trend with no rainfall expected.

·     Temperatures creeping up each day through Thursday, daytime highs near 92F, high humidity, with heat index of 100-105F.


VTS Perspective:

Houston Ship Channel between Lights 126-129 open to ship traffic only (40′ draft).

Due to the decrease of the flood stage and current strength we have authorized 3 single barge test transits. Based on the results of the test transits, it is anticipated that single barge transits are anticipated in the afternoon.


Barge work to be done in the Old River (line tightening/restacking of barges). No movement without prior authorization.


San Jacinto River at 1-10 Bridge will remain closed until further notice, no movement regardless of any openings. Waiting on good clean surveys.


Waiting on clean surveys in the area around tow vessel Cindy C at Channel Shipyard.


Vessel Traffic Service Director:

US Coast Guard is asking for any facilities to advise if they are impacted by this event.

This means that any impacts to the supply chain during the duration of the event are requested to be sent to Mr. Tyson Muniz (tyson.m.muniz@uscg.mil).


Houston Pilots:

Anticipates to be caught up by this afternoon, no restrictions.


Agents are reminded to maintain close dialogue with area pilot dispatch offices. Agents are also reminded to keep the eNOA/D’s updated for their vessels, and to keep the pilots closely advised about when their ships are ready to transit, whether sailing, shifting or docking.


As these conditions will persist in the area, there will be another PCT conference call held tomorrow,Tuesday May 7th, at 0900 hours. Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team will participate on tomorrow’s call and report to our membership.