Coast Guard Monitoring Grounded Barge

TAMPA, Fla. – The Coast Guard continues to monitor the barge that ran aground Wednesday, about three miles west of Egmont Key, Fla.

Crewmembers aboard a tug and barge from Bouchard Transportation Company, based in New York, will help transfer more than 20,000 barrels of fuel oil from the grounded barge in an effort to lessen the grounded barge’s weight. The fuel-oil transfer is scheduled to begin Friday afternoon.

When the transfer begins, the Captain of the Port of Tampa will issue a safety zone around the barges, ensuring that vessel traffic in the area does not pose a safety hazard to the oil transfer operations. Small-vessel traffic in the immediate vicinity of the operation may be restricted.

Once the transfer is complete commercial tugs will attempt to re-float the grounded barge. The barge will then be transported to an offshore anchorage where divers will inspect the barge’s hull for damage.

The Coast Guard is continuing to broadcast an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) to alert mariners of a hazard to navigation in the area. There have been no pollution or injuries reported.

“We are working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), NOAA, K-Sea and other agencies to safely re-float the barge,” said Coast Guard Capt. Joseph A. Servidio, Captain of the Port of Tampa. “The ocean bottom in the area where the Yankee grounded is reported to consist of sand and mud, and no environmental impact has been reported.”

Alcohol and drug testing were performed on the Yankee crewmembers, and the cause of the incident is under investigation.

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