Unified Command continues efforts for freighter grounding in Mona Island, Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard and other federal, state and industry responders continue efforts and are evaluating potential salvage options for the 185-foot cargo freighter that ran aground just off Uvero Beach in Mona Island, Puerto Rico Thursday.

“Our primary concern right now is the recovery of the fuel and oil onboard the freighter and minimizing environmental impact,” said Cmdr. David Berliner, Coast Guard Incident Commander to the response.

As a preventive measure, response crews deployed approximately 800-feet of containment boom around the cargo freighter in order to minimize environmental impact.

The Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark is maintaining a 500-yard safety zone around the vessel. Atlantis Divers completed a thorough underwater hull assessment and found no significant damage to the ship’s hull or signs of pollution in the water Saturday.

“Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board has been working jointly with state agencies and with the Coast Guard to protect the environment and prevent any significant impact to natural resources,” said Eng. Amarilys Rosario, State Incident Commander to the response.

Oil spill removal contractors are staging equipment to remove the more than 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard the vessel as early as Sunday.

An Incident Command Post and Unified Command comprised of federal, state and industry agencies and organizations has been established at Coast Guard Base San Juan to manage response and salvage efforts of the coastal freighter Jireh. The Incident Command Post includes the Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the National Atmospheric & Oceanic Administration, Puerto Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and Clean Harbors as the contracted Oil Spill Response Organization.

The Coast Guard continues investigating the cause of the grounding.

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