Salvage crews remove grounded passenger ferry off of Great St. James Island, U.S. Virgin Islands

7th Coast Guard District NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Incident Management personnel oversaw the successful removal operation of the grounded Royal Miss Belmar passenger ferry Saturday conducted by the DonJon Marine Co. on the northeastern end of Great St. James Island, U.S. Virgin Islands.

“This removal operation was a success due to the systematic coordination and planning efforts between federal and local agencies, local commercial salvage companies and Don Jon Marine Co. to safely remove the Royal Miss Belmar from its grounded location,” said Lt. Kristen Preble, Coast Guard Sector San Juan Chief of Incident Management.

At approximately 10 a.m. Saturday, DonJon Marine Co. salvage crews arrived on-scene aboard the tug boat Mary Alice and the 400-ton revolving barge crane Colombia-New York to hoist and remove the Royal Miss Belmar from the rocks.

Within two hours, DonJon Marine Co. salvage crews setup the crane along with the required equipment and commenced the removal operation, which consisted of installing a series of cargo straps around the bottom of the Royal Miss Belmar and hoisting the passenger ferry onto the Colombia New York barge.

By 4p.m. Saturday salvage crews completed the safe removal of the Royal Miss Belmar and transported the passenger ferry to Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas to further secure the passenger ferry. DonJon Marine Co. will be transporting the vessel to Savannah, Ga., where further assessments will be made to determine the future of the Royal Miss Belmar.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment and Coast Guard Boat Forces crews in St. Thomas worked alongside DonJon Marine Salvage Co., the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources, Sea Tow and Husky Salvage crews assisting with the salvage efforts.

Coast Guard rescue crews responded on the night of July 4 and the morning of July 5 alongside U.S. Virgin Islands, Sea Tow and Good Samaritan boat crews rescuing 98 passengers and four crewmen onboard the Royal Miss Belmar, after the vessel ran aground on the rocks off the northeastern end of Great St. James Island, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coast Guard Marine Investigators continue working with the vessel owner and local authorities to investigate the cause of the grounding.

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