The Houston Ship Channel was shut on Sunday as violent storms wracked the site of one of the worst Gulf Coast industrial disasters in 14 years.

All outbound vessels emerging from the northwest end of the waterway were halted and inbound traffic was limited to ships and barges already en route to final destinations, Intercontinental Terminals Co LLC said in a statement.

Decontamination stations used by the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure ships don’t drag any toxic residue into Galveston Bay or the Gulf of Mexico also were closed, according to the statement.

The channel, Houston’s lifeline to the Gulf and to foreign markets, has been shut or under strict limitations since ITC’s complex erupted into flamesthree weeks ago and spewed dangerous oil byproducts into the air and water.

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