- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

PORT LAVACA, Texas (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard has lifted travel restrictions on maritime traffic through the Matagorda Ship Channel near where officials are working to limit oil damage to the environmentally sensitive area.

But the Coast Guard added Friday that boaters must remain well clear of 16,000 feet of protective booming that’s in place to limit the amount of oil reaching Matagorda Island and Matagorda Bay. The area is near Port Lavaca, which is about 25 miles southeast of Victoria.

Authorities say the public is discouraged from traveling to south Matagorda Island as cleanup operations continue.

Nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilled Saturday along the Houston Ship Channel near Texas City when a ship punctured an oil barge.

Oil drifted into the Gulf of Mexico and down toward Matagorda.

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