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Two cruise ships were allowed to travel through the spill area "to minimize inconvenience" to thousands of passengers and limit the spill’s economic effects, the Coast Guard said.
The channel, part of the Port of Houston, typically handles as many as 80 large ships, as well as about 300 to 400 tugboats and barges.
The barge was carrying about 900,000 gallons when it collided with a ship. The resulting accident falls far short of major American oil spills such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, which dumped 11 million gallons of oil into the Prince William Sound, or the Deepwater Horizon spill, in which more than 100 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico four years ago.
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