Unified Command prepares to move Caribbean Fantasy

The Caribbean Fantasy, a passenger ferry vessel, aground approximately half a mile off Puntas Salinas Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. 511 passengers were rescued from the ship. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Mieszala)

The Caribbean Fantasy, a passenger ferry vessel, aground approximately half a mile off Puntas Salinas Friday, Aug. 19, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Mieszala)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Unified Command is planning to refloat the passenger ferry vessel Caribbean Fantasy on Saturday and tow the vessel to Pier 15 in San Juan Harbor.

Ardent, the responding salvage company, is finalizing a vessel salvage and towing plan that will be approved by the Coast Guard prior to moving the vessel.

Salvage and fire fighting teams boarded the vessel Friday to assess the status of the fire, assess damage to the vessel and determine the stability of the vessel. The fire was reported to have been contained inside the engine room and be in the decay stage. Teams accessed the majority of the vessel but were not able to clear the engine room, the generator room or the steering gear.

Dive teams inspected the hull of the vessel Friday and found no significant damage.

The Coast Guard has established and is enforcing a safety zone around the vessel. There have been no reports of sheening or pollution near the vessel at this time. The vessel is being closely monitored and booming has been deployed at the intakes for the Palo Seco Power Plant as a precautionary measure against potential discharge from the vessel. There has also been 14,000-feet of booming pre-staged near Punta Salinas.

The two deceased pets located by salvage and fire fighting teams Friday morning have been brought ashore. The owners of the pets were notified in person this morning at Coast Guard Sector San Juan. All of the animals on the ship’s manifest have now been accounted for.

A joint marine casualty investigation with the Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, RINA Services and the flag state, Panama, is underway.

The Caribbean Fantasy Response Unified Command consists of the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and B0aja Ferries (owner of the Caribbean Fantasy).

Also assisting the response efforts are the American Cruise Ferries, Ardent Global, the Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the National Response Corporation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, O’Brien’s Response Management, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rico Fire Department.

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