Some 1.5 million liters of crude oil were released into the environment on Sunday after a tanker collided with two other vessels near Port Arthur, Texas, the U.S. media said.
A 245-meter (600-foot) Eagle Atome tank ship, which had lost power for an unknown reason, collided with a towing vessel pushing a barge.
"If it turns out it is 400,000 gallons, it is quite a significant spill... The response is going to take some time," the Houston Chronicle quoted Coast Guard Petty Office Renee Aiello as saying.
Coast Guard evacuated a 50-block area around the port as the oil contained toxic hydrogen sulfide.
Some 1.2 km (4,000 feet) of booms have been deployed to corral the oil slick. Oil skimmers, three boom vessels and several other Coast Guard ships are working at the scene.
"There is almost no water flow in the area, so the oil isn't spreading out," Petty Officer Richard Brahm told CNN.
Another Coast Guard officer told the TV channel that the spill poses a threat to marsh areas both up- and downstream of the spill.
MOSCOW, January 24 (RIA Novosti)