The U.S. Coast Guard is hoping it will be able to open the Houston Ship Channel three days after a barge collision dumped as many as 170,000 gallons of heavy oil into the water.
Crews have been working to clean up the oil, scouring the sand quarter-sized tar balls that have washed ashore and using cannon booms to scare away birds.
The channel is one of the nation's busiest seaports.
Officials believe most of the oil that spilled Saturday is drifting out of the channel into the Gulf of Mexico. That should limit the impact on bird habitats around Galveston Bay as well as beaches and fisheries important to tourists.