Commissioner Buckingham Announces Removal of 22 Derelict Vessels from Texas Waters Through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Contact: Kimberly Hubbard
(512) 936-9582
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PRESS RELEASE — Sep 07, 2023

Austin — Today, Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. is pleased to announce that the Texas General Land Office Oil Spill division will partner with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) to remove 22 derelict vessels from Texas coastal waters.  More than $10 million in funding awarded to GOMA will help support healthy marine and coastal environments by removing abandoned or derelict vessels across the Gulf coast. This incredible project is made possible by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program with support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Growing up near the Gulf Coast, protecting and preserving our beautiful Texas beaches has always been very near and dear to my heart. It is an honor to partner with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to further the GLO’s mission to keep the Texas coast clean by ensuring derelict vessels are disposed of safely,” said Commissioner Buckingham. “Removing derelict vessels not only keeps the Texas coast cleaner but also promotes the trade and commerce that is vital to our state. To date, the GLO’s own Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) has helped safely remove over 1,300 derelict boats from coastal areas. I am thrilled to participate in this critical work to secure a better future for our coastal and marine habitats and the many communities that depend upon the health and vitality of the Gulf Coast.”

Derelict Vessel in Galveston County at Clear Lake

Derelict Vessel in Galveston County at Clear Lake

Using statutory authority granted in Chapter 40, Texas Natural Resources Code, the GLO Oil Spill division will remove several types of abandoned boats including:

  • One 263’ barge
  • One 237’ barge
  • Three fishing vessels (35’, 40’, 65’) 
  • 13 recreational vessels (10’, 18’, 20’ (2), 23’ (2), 26’, 27’, 30’, 32’ (2), 34’, 41’)
  • One 25’ sailboat
  • Two tugboats (50’ and 80’)
  • One 24’ unknown type

The 22 targeted vessels will be removed from Galveston, Harris, Brazoria, and Orange Counties. The bodies of water from which the vessels will be removed include:

  • Buffalo Bayou - Harris County (1)
  • Cedar Creek Bayou – Harris County (2)
  • Clear Lake – Galveston County (2)
  • Cow Bayou – Orange County (1)
  • Dickinson Bayou – Galveston County (3)
  • Galveston Bay - Harris County (1)
  • Gulf Intracoastal Waterway – Galveston County (1)
  • Hall’s Bayou – Brazoria County (1)
  • Moses Lake – Galveston County (3)
  • Offatt Bayou - Galveston County (4)
  • Sabine River – Orange County (1)
  • San Jacinto River – Harris County (1)
  • Tabbs Bay – Harris County (1)
Derelict Vessel in Orange County at Cow Bayou

Derelict Vessel in Orange County at Cow Bayou

Abandoned vessels can leak fluids into coastal waters that can be harmful for the wetland environment, wildlife, and humans—and even the smallest oil spill can endanger Texas' precious natural resources. With hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil and petroleum products passing through ports, bays, and beaches along the Texas Gulf annually, The GLO Oil Spill division works around-the-clock to achieve their goal of preventing and immediately addressing environmental problems.

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