WGMA VTS Houston-Galveston

Port Coordination Team

Conference Call Report


Saturday, January 27, 2024





The US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston’s Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) held a Port Coordination Team (PCT) conference call at 0900 hours today to discuss the impact of foggy conditions for the past several days upon marine vessel traffic within the Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City port complex. Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team participated on the call and has the following report for our membership:


National Weather Service:

·     San Jacinto River at Sheldon is cresting currently little over 13ft, expected to fall slowly this afternoon and into the evening.

·     10-8ft levels will be delayed as well, river to come down slowly could be Wednesday before levels are below 8ft.

·     San Bernard River is at 8.6ft and falling.

·     Strong NW Winds today, 15-20 knots in the bays and 20-25 knots offshore.

·     Building of seas offshore, dropping off into the evening.

·     Forecast for Monday-Tuesday light winds and low seas.


VTS Perspective:

·     High Water Delay in barge traffic above 1-10 Bridge..

·     Fog set back in yesterday – 67% of expected vessel traffic and 90% of barge traffic.

·     Movement under the I-10 Bridge will remain closed for barge movement until further notice.

·     Traffic management for the Houston Ship Channel – VTS set up a no passing zone from light 124 to 129 , will discuss normal operations as water levels go down.

·     VTS will continue to monitor the situation.


A rollcall of industry constituents and industry is asked to continue to send in priorities.



·     Still seeing closed / restricted traffic at the Brazos River flood gates, another week before getting back to normal. Moving traffic during daylight hours.

·     Colorado River traffic shut down at the gates due to differentials for a few more days, the crest is already passing. At Wharton/Bay City expect to be able to move traffic in the next 2-3days.


Houston Pilots:

·     7 Sailing left, currently has 26 arrivals, expects to meet all inbound cutoffs and anticipating to make all outbound cutoffs but could miss a couple. Monitoring all priorities.


Galveston-Texas City Pilots:

·     All caught up by the afternoon, looking to sail 3 cruise ships this afternoon.


PCT call moving out of the risk of fog event and moving into high water action event.

Will have a PCT call tomorrow at 0900 with towing community, Suspending Full PCT members but all are welcome to join.


Agents are reminded to keep CBP and the pilot dispatch offices updated with your vessel’s status for movement, and to make sure that the ship’s eNOA/D are kept updated to avoid any problems.


WGMA members should note that our partners DTN WeatherOps can provide customized weather reports for your specific area, and their seasonal Fog Forecast gives you a 7-day outlook of fog for every port on the US Gulf Coast. Contact WGMA Maritime Affairs to sign up to receive these reports.


VTS Houston-Galveston advised they will hold another PCT conference call at 0900 hours Sunday for the Towing Community, as they continue to monitor the situation.



Robert Hawn 

Vice President, Maritime Affairs

O: (713) 715-6443

M: (832) 473-1905



James Nash 

Director, Maritime Affairs

O: (713) 715-6520

M: (979) 373-8556



Willi Gerami 

Maritime Affairs Representative

O: (713) 715-6437

M: (281) 798-0345