TODAY

TODAY   |  April 01, 2014

Recordings from Texas ship collision released

A dramatic conversation between two captains that took place moments before their ships collided and triggered a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been revealed. The tapes may reveal who was at fault.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> an update this morning on the collision in the houston ship channel which caused that massive oil spill almost two weeks ago.

>> reporter: for the first time this morning, we're hearing dramatic audio recordings of conversations between the two captains. just 3/4 mile apart, the oil barge was being pushed directly into the path of the cargo ship .

>> well, if you keep on going, i'm going to get you.

>> reporter: minutes before they hit, the captain of the cargo ship warned the tug boat pushing the barge of impending danger.

>> how many loads you got?

>> two loads. two loads. i'm looking at you now. it don't look good.

>> you need to keep backing it down as hard as you can. i'm going to shoot it through the red side as much as i can.

>> a little more than a minute later, the ships collide, spilling 168,000 gallons of oil, closing the busy houston ship channel and causing havoc for days. this spill disrupted thousands of cruise ship passengers stranded more than 100 commercial ships and endangered wildlife sanctuaries . the cost is still being tallied, but officials say it will be in the millions.

>> federal officials are working with those tapes as part of their investigation. no decision yet on who might have been at fault.