This is an empty VLCC inbound thru the narrow confines of the Port Aransas ship channel, SE of Corpus Christi. On big NE hurricane swells I use to paddle across this ship channel to San Jose Island to surf big waves 200 yards from the end of the jetties, a half mile off the beach. The ship channel is 340 yards wide. The ocean water in it is deep blue until one of these big things push through it.
It's not unusual to see Mako sharks free jumping in the ship channel; it's full of sea life. The ecosystem of this part of the Texas Gulf Coast is magical. I've seen manta rays in this channel the size of large boats and schools or tarpon as wide as a football field migrating north, from Mexico.
This big girl. above, will go as far as Harbor Island, close to where one takes the ferry across from the mainland to get to the village of Port Aransas. When she is turned around by tug boats there will be little room in the channel from bow to stern. She will then be loaded with over 2 MM barrels of Wolfcamp oil from the Permian Basin, pushed back around and sent back out to sea, bound for Great Britain, or Rotterdam, or China, take your pick.
This massive ship above, she is not as big as VVLCC's that are anchored offshore, four miles out in the approach lanes, off the Port Aransas jetties, whose drafts are too deep to get in to Harbour Island. Those VVLCC's are filled by smaller de-lighter ships that go back and forth, 24 hours a day, not stop. They tie up to the VVLCC's and unload, then go get another, non stop.
The peaceful village of Port Aransas is not peaceful anymore; more export terminals are being built constantly in a big Goddamn hurry to drain Texas, and America, as fast as possible. For oil exports.
Historically, 85% of all the major oil spills that occur around the world and foul coastlines occur from shipping, not upstream production from offshore platforms. From moving oil around. Back in the Port of Corpus Christi, two years ago, there was already a giant mess that was cleaned up and kept out of the news. It's just a matter of time before another one occurs.
Upstream from Port Aransas, way up in the Permian Basin, we are flaring associated gas, providing valuable groundwater from an arid part of West Texas to frac Wolfcamp wells, even selling that Texas water to New Mexico so it can save its groundwater for growing food. Then, believe it or not, we allow New Mexico to send its nasty produced water down to Texas for disposal. New Mexico doesn't like earthquakes; in Texas we'll sell our mothers to make a dollar, or buy a vote. Are you listening, Wayne?
Everybody in Texas loves Port Aransas, its warm water, its clean beaches. They like to eat shrimp and lay in the sun, feed the seagulls and be with family. They take charter boats offshore, thru the ship channel, to fish for Kingfish, even a a blue marlin now and then. Or they can go inshore and catch redfish and trout, go blue crabbing with string lines and bacon for bait. The kids love that! The beach at Port Aransas is a gift to Texas and our kids. Sit on the second sand bar and let the small surf fix your soul...tell me I am wrong.
All this exporting of America's remaining hydrocarbons comes with great risk. You by God need to seriously ask yourself if the risk of hydrocarbon scarcity down the road (it's happening already; you are full of shit if you think not), or the risk of great environmental harm to our beloved Texas, is worth it. People in Washington DC don't give a rats ass about Texas; they are using the last of our natural resources as a foreign policy tool. Politicians want votes so they can perpetuate their meaningless political lives for as long as possible. They want you to believe Texas oil exports are good for Texas and enhance our nation's energy security. They're lying. The last of our natural resources need to stay in America, for Americans. The future is not now, it's in the future.