PHOTO COURTESY OF US COAST GUARD
The tug Yankee and
its barge loaded with fuel oil sit grounded in the Gulf approximately
three miles east of Egmont Key. It was refloated last Friday with
no fuel spilled after the Coast Guard had a contractor empty the barge
into anothet tanker.
A barge carrying approximately 20,000 barrels of diesel fuel was re-floated last Friday around 5:15 p.m. after grounding on Wednesday, April 2, around 5:45 p.m. three miles west of Egmont Key. No fuel was lost in the incident.
The tug Yankee, which was hauling the barge, also grounded in the shallow Gulf waters near the mouth of Tampa Bay, according to a U.S. Coast Guard news release. When the barge first grounded, the Coast Guard flew an HC 130 over the site to check for pollution. It appeared that the double hull on the barge held and no fuel was lost into the Gulf.
An attempt to pull the barge off the bottom at high tide Wednesday was unsuccessful and on Friday, a tug and barge from Bouchard Transportation Company arrived. Crew members began transferring the fuel oil at 2:10 p.m., and after transferring approximately 20,000 barrels of the fuel oil, the grounded barge was refloated. Bouchard's barge continued to the Weeden Island Power Plant in St. Petersburg, where the original crafts were headed, to offload the fuel oil.
"While not a routine event, the grounding of a large vessel is an event we and our partner agencies plan for and train for," said Capt. Joseph A. Servidio, captain of the Port of Tampa. "This joint response demonstrates the benefits of that planning and training."
No injuries were reported.
"We would like to thank the Coast Guard, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bouchard Transportation Company and everyone else who has worked so hard alongside us to safely re-float our barge," said Richard P. Falcinelli, vice president of K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P., owners of the barge and tug.
Drug and alcohol tests of the crewmembers involved in the casualty were conducted. The cause of the incident is under Coast Guard investigation.