Following the collision between the bulk carrier Summer Wind and a fuel barge in the Houston Ship Channel on 22 March, about 170,000 gallons of heavy tar-like oil was spilled into the sea, largely blocking all of the ports in Galveston Bay and seriously affecting traffic to and from Galveston, Texas.
Around 100 vessels of all types were stranded as a result, including Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas and Carnival’s Carnival Magic, both of which were bound for Galveston and both of which arrived about ten hours late after being required to travel through the area at slow speed to prevent further spreading the oil. The sailing of Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess was delayed, as was the arrival of Carnival Triumph the following day.
Initially Navigator of the Seas’ next cruise was cancelled, but it seems that poor communication led to the passengers being embarked. They were advised that they could stay aboard until disembarkation, but two days later it was decided to undertake a shortened cruise. The Channel reopened for daylight passages on 26 March.