Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Jacksonville is overseeing response operations to the grounding of the 250-foot container barge, Guantanamo Bay Express, which was being pulled by the tugboat Spence while trying to leave the St. Johns River in Mayport at 2 a.m.
The barge is located on the north side of the Mayport Jetties and is no concern to inbound or outboard vessel traffic at the entrance of the St. Johns River.
Pac-Atlantic Marine Leasing
, LCC, owner of the Guantanamo Bay Express has taken prompt action and hired Titan Marine, LLC to remove the barge. Plans have not been finalized or approved by the Coast Guard at this time but salvage operations are anticipated to begin tomorrow.
The Coast Guard requires the owner of the barge to hire a commercial salvage company and present a salvage operation to the Coast Guard for approval.
Coast Guard marine inspectors, marine environmental response teams have been on scene to determine any damage and assess the situation. The barge is carrying general container cargo and some hazardous material. There are no reports of pollution.
Commercial salvage engineers are taking precautions to prevent the release of hazardous materials from the barge.
The Coast Guard continues to monitor and assist to protect the marine environment and ensure that operations are conducted safely and professionally.
The Spence and Guantanamo Bay Express make regular trips from Jacksonville to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The incident is under investigation.