The operation planned at Harbor Island—namely loading crude carriers—is exactly that being carried out safely on a daily basis at numerous other terminals around the shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay. The principal difference is the technology incorporated into this project, from loading arms to storage tanks to fire suppression, will be state of the art and include best available safety technology. The movement of vessels—including VLCCs—through the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to reach the terminal at Harbor Island is no different from the tanker movements that take place every day in the Ship Channel, except that these vessels will not need to travel across the interior of Corpus Christi Bay.
The Port is committed to working with the regulatory agencies and local academic institutions to evaluate potential ecological impacts from deepening a portion of the Ship Channel from -54’ to -75’. As part of the US Army Corps of Engineers permitting process, we have modeled potential impacts to salinity as well as tidal amplitude and velocity (addressed in another response in these FAQs) to confirm that the deepening project will not impact the ecology of the bay system.