(Updates with Corpus Christi port, ship channel reopening)
HOUSTON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday that it has reopened the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, and the ship channel for deeper-draft vessels, it said in a statement on Thursday.
The announcement came after the port and channel were shut for a record six days after storm Harvey swept through Texas and the center of the U.S. energy sector. The reopening will allow seven local refiners to resume operations.
The first vessel will transit the port on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement from the port. It added that more than 20 vessels were awaiting berth assignments.
At the moment, vessels only up to 43 feet (13 meters) in draft will be able to transit the port. Shipping sources estimate that is the equivalent of a vessel containing around 500,000 barrels of oil. The port’s channel is typically 45 feet (14 meters).
The restrictions also call for daylight-only transits. A number of other Texas ports remain closed.
Reporting by Catherine Ngai and Marianna Parraga; Editing by Alistair Bell