Montrose Lightering Halted, Ship Remains Grounded

BALTIMORE – Responders to the grounded cargo ship Montrose stopped offloading coal at about 7 p.m. Monday as weather conditions worsened in the Chesapeake Bay.

“The strong winds and increased seas resulted in suspension of the cargo off-loading activities. As safety is our primary focus, we will stand down until weather becomes favorable,” said Tim Dickensheets, a Unified Command representative on behalf of the Montrose.

The transfer of coal stopped 2,000 metric tons short of the Unified Command’s goal of 7,100. Crews, under the direction of the Unified Command, began the process known as lightering Sunday afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. When the crews resume, it is expected to take approximately 10 hours to complete.

When the lightering is complete, a process known as de-ballasting will begin. De-ballasting is the removal of water that was used to keep the ship stable during the lightering process.

Once afloat, the ship will be taken to a safe anchorage where it will undergo an underwater dive inspection.

The Unified Command consists of the Coast Guard, ECM Maritime Services, Resolve Marine Group, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Motia Navigation who is the operator of the Montrose.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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