PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Passengers loading onto a ferry in Port Aransas were quickly evacuated Monday morning due to a large ship sounding its danger signal.
Videos posted online captured the sight just after 9 a.m. Monday morning as those passengers quickly got off the ferry. Richard Watson told 3News he was a passenger on board the ferry.
"I've lived in Port Aransas for 50 years and I have never seen anything like this before," Watson said.
Watson said the massive ship first caught his eye as it came around a bend. He said the ship kept blowing its horn a number of times, and that translates to "get out of the way."
Watson said one woman received a minor scrape after falling during the event, but was not significantly hurt.
According to Rickey Dailey, a public information officer with the Texas Department of Transportation, the vessel's captain sounded the ship's emergency horn. The vessel was said to be an inbound LNG ship.
The TxDOT captain and crew on the ferry immediately began evacuating passengers on foot. Dailey said the crew is trained to follow safety procedures in situations like this one.
The inbound ship continued in the channel and there were no reported collisions and no contact with the ferry. Ferry operations resumed shortly after.
3News reached out to Cheniere for comment, and they released the following statement:
"We take concerns from the community and the safe navigation of all vessels very seriously. We were aware of what happened and we understand the concern. What we learned from the pilots in control of the vessel is that – while operating in coordination with the Coast Guard and the Port Authority – the vessel took a wider turn than usual at Harbor Island due to the placement of another vessel in the channel. The vessel was always in control. Here are additional facts: three escort tugs were assisting with the safe navigation and maneuvering through the waterway, the vessel horn was signaled as a precaution, and communication was ongoing between the pilots and applicable parties. If members of the community have additional questions we will assist in directing the questions to the responsible pilot or Port contacts. Please contact Community@cheniere.com or call (888) 371-3607."
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