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Texas oil spill halts travels of 59 vessels and 3 cruise ships

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Three cruise ships were among the scores of sea craft that were trapped in waters near Texas after a massive oil spill closed down the channel that connects Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill, described by emergency responders as "extremely serious," occurred after a barge that was carting about a million gallons of oil struck another ship in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas City, CNN reported. The Coast Guard reported one of the tank's on the barge — one that stored 168,000 gallons of the oil — was breached in the collision. It's not clear how many gallons wound up in the water.

But Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Sam Danus said crews have been working nonstop to clean up the mess. In the meantime, other craft traveling the waters were banned from entering the containment area, which spans about six miles.

That leaves a total of three cruise ships and 59 other craft in a trapped status, unable to either enter or exit the channel, CNN said.

"It is an extremely serious spill," said Coast Guard Capt. Brian Penoyer, CNN reported. "There is a large quantity. It will spread."

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