Coast Guard investigates the grounding of Tank Ship Port Stewart off Yabucoa Harbor, Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Marine Investigators are investigating the cause that led to the grounding of the 570-foot double-hulled tank ship Port Stewart Wednesday, after the vessel grounded and was later refloated Tuesday, approximately one and a half nautical miles east of the Shell Yabucoa Harbor, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard pollution investigators on land and aboard an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter conducted assessments on scene Tuesday and found no signs of pollution in the water or fuel oil leaking from the tank ship.

The Coast Guard allowed the Port Stewart to enter Shell Yabucoa Harbor Tuesday, where Coast Guard marine inspectors continue to monitor ongoing underwater hull integrity assessments being conducted by divers on the tank ship.

As a preventive measure the tank ship has been surrounded by protective booming and an environmental team is currently at hand 24 hours until the vessel is determined by the Coast Guard to be seaworthy to depart Yabucoa Harbor.

“We will continue to work with the vessel’s Classification Society representative, local government, federal partners and the private sector to assure that the vessel is seaworthy before we allow it to get underway,” said Capt. Eduardo Pino, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.

The Port Stewart reportedly ran a ground at approximately 10:40 a.m. Tuesday. The tank ship transferred cargo from its forward to its aft cargo tanks and was successfully refloated with the assistance of tug boats at 11:45a.m.

The Port Stewart is a Marshall Islands flagged vessel and was carrying fuel oil.

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