The U.S. Coast Guard is working with local response agencies and the Virginia and Maryland Pilots Tuesday after receiving a report of a collision between two ships in the Thimble Shoal Channel and are responding to several subsequent reports of ships dragging anchor in the lower Chesapeake Bay.
The 79-foot rig vessel, Petite, and the 1065-foot container ship, MSC Charleston, reportedly collided due to weather in the main ship channel at approximately 7:30 p.m. There was no initial report of damage, pollution or injuries to either vessel, and both are safely anchored pending a Coast Guard investigation.
Winds gusting to 70 mph at Cape Henry caused 12 ships anchored in the vicinity of Lynnhaven to drag anchor and caused the 751-foot bulk carrier, Ornak, that was anchored in the Lynnhaven Anchorage east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to run aground at approximately 8:35 p.m. near First Landing State Park.
To help stabilize the ships, the Virginia Pilot office dispatched 11 pilots to embark the anchored vessels at anchorage.
Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center watchstanders are working with local partners, the Virginia and Maryland Pilot's Associations and local tug boat companies to coordinate assistance to ships dragging anchor and others requiring tug support to remain moored at several facilities due to strong wind gusts.
"The Coast Guard, commercial industry and port partners are coordinating efforts to respond to the current adverse weather conditions and are monitoring all efforts to safely attend all vessels," said Capt. John Little, the commander of Sector Hampton Roads. "Weather events such as this storm illustrate the continued need for close partnerships between the Coast Guard, industry and local emergency crews responding to maritime incidents."
There are currently no reports of pollution or injuries.