Coast Guard responds to grounded barge near Sandbridge Beach

SANDBRIDGE, Va. – Response crews from Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach Fire Department responded to a grounded 571-foot barge near Sandbridge Pier, Friday morning.

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a call from the tug operator reporting that the barge had broken loose at approximately 11 p.m., Thursday.

Due to heavy weather conditions offshore, and despite repeated attempts, tugs were unable to recapture the barge and the barge ran aground at approximately 6 a.m., Friday and continues to move toward the pier.

The barge contains hazardous materials, and the public is advised to avoid the barge and pier for their own safety.

The Coast Guard is working with the owner and operator, Crowley Maritime Corporation, Inc. and the salvage company Titan Maritime, LLC to stop the vessel from moving toward the pier and safely refloat it. A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. has transported salvage company surveyors to the barge who will attempt to stop the barge.

The tug and barge was traveling from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Pennsauken, N.J.

Response crews are working diligently to secure the scene, keep the public safe, minimize the impact to the environment and refloat the barge, said Lt. Jack Smith, Sector Hampton Roads operations section chief.

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