Tampa Bay Shipping Channeled Reopened

TAMPA, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard has reopened Tampa Bay’s shipping channel at about noon today after a 378-foot Panamanian-flagged freight vessel ran aground about 400 yards east of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, Fla., at about 5 a.m. today.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg’s Command Center received a call at about 5 a.m. from a Cooperative Vessel Traffic System (CVTS) watchstander, reporting that the Antilles II was aground south of the shipping channel.

Two Coast Guard 25-foot response boats and one 41-foot utility boat from Sector St. Petersburg responded to the scene. The Coast Guard Captain of the Port established a 100-yard safety zone restricting vessel traffic in the main shipping channel of Tampa Bay until the vessel was moored at Port Manatee, in Tampa Bay, Fla.

No injuries, pollution or damage to the bridge were reported in conjunction with the incident. The Antilles II is reported to have a cargo of 10,000 metric tons of phosphate and 78 metric tons of fuel and 20 liters of lube oil. The ocean bottom in the area where the Antilles II grounded is reported to consist of limestone, oyster beds and mud.

Coast Guard marine inspectors and investigators are investigating the incident to determine the causes of the grounding.

“While not a routine event, the loss of power by vessels is an event we and our partner agencies have planned and trained for,” said Captain Joseph Servideo, commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. “Today’s joint response demonstrates the benefits of that planning and training.”

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