Fog halted ship traffic along the central US Gulf Coast on Friday, including at port of Houston. The Houston Ship Channel, serving Houston, Galveston and Texas City; Sabine Pass to Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas; and the channel to Lake Charles, Louisiana, all were affected. Houston is one of the world's largest concentrations of oil refineries and petrochemical plants, and also a hub for containers, automobiles, grain and general cargo.
At least 50 ships, more than half of them oil or petroleum products tankers, were held up by low-visibility conditions that stopped traffic starting Thursday. However, breaks in the weather allowed pilots to move a few vessels late in the day. Officials expect the fog to return later Friday and persist until arrival of a cold front over the weekend. Beaumont-Port Arthur and Lake Charles are largely refinery and petrochemical ports.