Command to Transfer Coast In Attempt to Re-float Ship

BALTIMORE – A Unified Command is scheduled to transfer coal Sunday from the cargo ship Montrose in order to re-float the ship in Chesapeake Bay.

The 712-foot cargo ship Montrose, carrying 74,215 metric tons of coal, ran soft aground Wednesday near Sharps Island, Md.

The removal process, known as lightering, should begin Sunday morning. Once afloat, the ship will be taken to safe anchorage for inspection.

The Coast Guard Cutter Cochito, an 87-foot patrol boat home ported in Portsmouth, Va., is enforcing a 500-yard safety zone for the ship.

There have been no reports of pollution or injuries. However, the transfer of coal will generate dust in the air and may cause discoloration in the water. Boaters are reminded that water discoloration within the vicinity of the operation is not a result of oil or hazardous chemicals.

“Coal is ugly, and it will discolor the water, however the effect it has on the environment is very minimal,” sais Alan Williams, on-scene coordinator for the State of Maryland.

The Unified Command consists of the Coast Guard, ECM Maritime Services, Resolve Marine Group, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Motia, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

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