At approximately 1 p.m. Monday (March 4, 2013), the Coast Guard received a report that 22 containers fell off the 91-foot barge Atlantic Trader and into the ocean 18 miles east of Key Biscayne, Fla.
Coast Guard Watchstanders at Sector Miami received notification from the Tug Spence that 22 containers on a voyage from Jacksonville, Fla., to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba fell off the barge into the water.
An aircrew from Coast Guard Airstation Miami launched to the scene and initially located some of the containers floating around the Tug Spence. Coast Guard Cutter Gannet crewmembers were diverted and arrived on scene along with crewmembers from commercial salvage who marked the containers with strobe lights to prevent a hazard to navigation.
The Tug Spence and barge Atlantic Trader, with some containers still hanging over the side, and some container stacks fallen over like dominoes, were piloted in by three tug boats and moored in Port Everglades, Fla., at approximately 10:15 p.m.
The Coast Guard is working with commercial salvage to locate and tow four containers that remain afloat to the port where crews can recover the containers from the water.
Coast Guard Sector Miami personnel have been working with Port Everglades to ensure a safe offloading plan of the containers to a pier in Port Everglades.
"Over the last two days the Coast Guard has been gathering information from the shipper Trans Atlantic and working with Port Everglades, Broward County Sheriff's Office, Broward County Fire and Rescue, Port Everglades Pilots, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection to assess the condition and contents of containers on the barge Atlantic Trader and those in the water to take best actions to mitigate potential threats to safe navigation, the marine environment, and responders involved in the salvage effort," said Capt. David G. McClellan, chief of prevention for Coast Guard Sector Miami.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
Courtesy of Dennis Bryant: www.brymar-consulting.com