Passenger Ferry Aground Off U.S. Virgin Islands

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Photo Credit: USCG

The Coast Guard continues to coordinate the response to Saturday's grounding of the passenger ferry American Pride on Triangle Reef, just off the Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas Harbour, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Fifteen passengers and three crewmembers aboard the American Pride were rescued from the vessel by Sea Tow Saint Thomas, Saturday morning, and were reported to have suffered no injuries. The vessel had just departed the Saint Thomas Harbour and was headed to Tortola, British Virgin Islands when it ran aground. The Coast Guard was first notified about the grounding by a 911 operator.

It was reported to the Coast Guard yesterday that the portside fuel tank of the American Pride had ruptured and approximately 350 gallons of diesel fuel were released into the water. The starboard tank of the vessel remains intact and is currently holding approximately another 350 gallons of diesel fuel. The exact extent of the damage to the vessel's hull and to the coral reef will not be known until the vessel is refloated and a more comprehensive ocean-bottom survey is conducted.

The owner of the American Pride has hired Titan Marine Salvage to free the vessel from Triangle Reef and mitigate the damage to the coral reef.

The American Pride remained aground Monday, March 19, as the vessel owner continues to work closely with the Coast Guard to ensure planned salvage operations do not cause further disruption to the reef, provide adequate resources for any contingencies that could arise, are conducted as safely as possible, and mitigate the risk of further damaging the vessel.

The cause of the grounding is currently under investigation by Marine Safety Detachment personnel in Saint Thomas.

"We need to ensure that all aspects of the salvage operation are properly addressed, that includes planning for any contingencies and providing the highest level of safety to our response personnel, while protecting and minimizing any possible damage to the coral reef, said Capt. Raymond Perry, Deputy Commander Sector San Juan."

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