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:

·     Sea fog will be possible at times throughout the day and overnight, until a cold front pushes offshore late on Tuesday morning or early Tuesday afternoon, especially during the evening to morning hours.

·     Before the front passes through, a reduction in winds is expected, increasing the chance of dense fog formation.

·     A Marine Dense Fog Advisory is currently in effect for the Bays and coastal Gulf waters through 12PM today.

·     There is the potential for this advisory to get extended further into Tuesday morning.

·     Small Craft Advisories are in effect today for the Gulf Waters and Matagorda Bay for southerly winds of 20-25 kts and gusts to 30 kts and seas building to 5 to 8 feet.

·     Conditions will improve Tuesday afternoon after the cold front moves through the region.

·     Small craft should also exercise caution in Galveston Bay during the same time period.


VTS Perspective:

·     Yesterday mariners took advantage of a brief window in the fog to move traffic

·     There were 197 transits in all

·     20 piloted ships moved yesterday

·     Tows will be limited by VTS to inbound traffic only until around noon, to increase safe ship transits

·     East/west tow traffic will not be impacted

·     Another PCT call tomorrow morning


Some containment issues were noted by at least one terminal but overall, there were no emergent issues noted.


Port of Galveston:

One reefer vessel is priority; a cruise ship got in earlier. Otherwise they are mostly caught up.


Port Freeport:

A reefer vessel is priority; otherwise they are in good shape.


Houston Pilots:

·     14 sailings and 1 shift accomplished yesterday during the brief window

·     Today there are 47 arrivals and 17 sailings queued

·     8 pilots dispatched for boarding inbound daylight transits


Galveston-Texas City Pilots:

·     3 arrivals; 3 sailings in Galveston

·     2 arrivals; 1 sailing in Texas City

·     The reefer ship is priority

·     Several other ships to move; waiting on a break in the fog.


Available harbor tugboats reported in: Houston 20, Galveston/Texas City 5, and Freeport 3.


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 tomorrow, as they continue to monitor how well vessel traffic is moving. Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team will participate on the conference call and report to our members.



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