Trapped for four days in a port paralyzed by 4000 barrels of oil in Galveston Bay, vessel after vessel churned past Galveston's East end in an overdue run for the Gulf's open water.
With a green light from the Coast Guard the Houston Ship Channel was back in business.
"We will monitor to insure that the transits of the vessels themselves do not cause any environmental harm while we are responding," said Capt. Brian Penoyer of the U.S. Coast Guard.
As ships made for open water a small army of responders attacked the East End shore, cleaning the thick bunker fuel that stuck to sand and stone as the hydrocarbons flowed out of Galveston Bay.
"Oh yea, there's plenty of oil. We had three trailer loads of full of bags that were just saturated," said Christopher Lowe, a spill responder.
"I could have been a lot worse, but the response was so good. The response team came out, the Coast Guard got right on top of it and everybody has been working hand in hand and we are going to get it right," said spill responder Derrick Brown.
Turns out much of the spilled oil has drifted 10 miles or more from shore. Responders call the next 24 hours" critical".
They hope to capture as much of the tar like fuel as possible because shifting winds are projected to push the spill's remnants back toward the coast more than 100 miles to the south.
"We will be putting people on Matagorda Island in the very near future, equipment and personnel. We are anticipating landfall on Matagorda or further South," said Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner.
"With a 30 knot wind pushing offshore and with product eight to ten miles off it can quickly come ashore," said Richard Arnhart, of the Texas Land Office oil spill response team.
Meantime, Mayor Louis Rosen expressed relief that Galveston's beaches have so far emerged largely unharmed by the spill.
"We dodged a bullet," said Rosen.