Coast Guard Responds to Barge Grounding

TAMPA, Fla. – The Coast Guard is responding to a barge that ran aground about three miles west of Egmont Key, Fla., at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The 138-foot tug Yankee, owned by K-Sea Operating Partnership LP, was transporting a 441-foot barge from Houston to Tampa when it ran aground on a sand bar. The double-hulled barge is carrying 119,000 barrels fuel oil.

The Coast Guard immediately responded to inspect the barge for any damage, and launched an HC-130 search plane from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., to check for pollution.

The Coast Guard is broadcasting an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) to alert mariners of a hazard to navigation in the area. There were no pollution or injuries reported, and no vessel traffic has been affected.

The tug Buccaneer attempted to re-float the barge Wednesday evening at high tide, but was unsuccessful and will attempt again before noon Thursday, along with tugs Tampa and Gasparilla. If necessary, K-Sea will transfer some of the fuel oil to another barge to lessen the barge’s weight.

“We are working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), K-Sea and other agencies to safely re-float the barge,” said Coast Guard Capt. Joseph A. Servidio, Captain of the Port of Tampa. “The ocean bottom in the area where the Yankee grounded is reported to consist of sand and mud, and no environmental impact has been reported.”

Alcohol testing was performed on the Yankee crewmembers and drug testing is being conducted.

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