No hazardous material in containers that fell off cargo vessel Seaboard Intrepid

MIAMI – Seaboard Marine has reported that no hazardous material was contained in any of the missing containers that fell overboard from the vessel Seaboard Intrepid, Monday, 30 miles off Key West, Fla.

Coast Guard officials have cross-referenced the original cargo manifest and concur with Seaboard Marine’s assessment that the majority of the containers that fell overboard were empty, with a few containing non-hazardous materials such as cloth and textiles.

The Seaboard Intrepid, a 544-foot container ship, reported to the Coast Guard that approximately 30 containers fell overboard while they were transiting offshore near the Florida Keys. Of those, seven empty refrigerated containers are believed to be partially sunk and adrift. Seaboard Marine and Coast Guard units have sighted five of the seven containers, 12 to 25 miles offshore of Miami. Twenty-three containers are believed to be sunk in deep water off the Florida Keys. Efforts to locate the two remaining containers continue.

A team consisting of representatives from the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Florida and other environmental stakeholders approved a plan presented by Seaboard Marine to dispose of the partially-submerged containers Thursday. In this plan, Seaboard Marine proposed marking all remaining afloat containers with a strobe light and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon to track their movement. In addition, Seaboard Marine agreed to sink the afloat containers in a water depth between 500 to 1,300 feet, and not in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Seaboard Marine is responsible for the recovery and salvage of the adrift containers and will assume the search for the two additional containers believed to remain afloat. Because the partially-submerged containers could pose a threat to commercial traffic in the area, Coast Guard units from Key West to Miami have worked to track the semi-submerged containers using aircraft and a datum marker buoy. Information on currents and predicted drift patterns was provided to the Coast Guard by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Coast Guard continues to issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners warning mariners of the containers’ last known position. The BNM is issued every hour and 15 minutes.

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