Nightly News   |  March 23, 2014

Crews Rush to Contain Oil Spill on Texas Coast

One of the tanks on a barge breached after a collision with a ship. The spill is blocking access to a Houston shipping channel.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> trying to contain on oil spill tonight off the coast of texas after a barge filld with marine fuel collided with a ship. traffic in and out of busy houston ship channel , there's growing concern about wildlife. our report tonight from nbc's gabe gutierrez.

>> reporter: from the air, twisted steel clearly visible on the barge carrying nearly a million gallons of fuel. responders and clean-up crews are rushing to the texas coast to contain the oil, which now extends at least 12 miles offshore.

>> want to emphasize that this is a significant spill.

>> translator: coast guard says just one of the barge's tanks, known to carry 168,000 gallons, was breached.

>> it has a type of bunker fuel and very heavy oil in it.

>> reporter: the barge collided with a ship saturday afternoon near texas city , injuring two crew members. the area around the spill shown in red is now blocking access to part of the houston ship channel . one of the busiest in the world. dozens of vessels, including two cruise ships , were stranded, unable to dock. fisherman jeff roberts spotted oil residue on his boat.

>> the first oil was going up the ship channel and a couple of hours later now it's coming around the back side of the island.

>> reporter: a major concern. the surrounding area is also a popular habitat for shore birds, which the audubon society worries could be threatened. it's now getting first reports of oiled wildlife.

>> once that oil is in the environment, it will move with the environment and has done so, and moving now out into the gulf of mexico .

>> reporter: tonight, crews have stopped the leak and are removing the damaged barge from galveston bay , as they continue to monitor water and air quality . the spill's full reach unknown. gabe gutierrez, nbc news.