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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Containers Overboard; Response Continues

December 9, 2015

Barge container ship, Columbia Elizabeth, is towed to Port of Palm Beach, Dec. 6, 2015. While enroute to Puerto Rico, several cargo containers fell overboard off the coast of Port Canaveral, Fla. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Barge container ship, Columbia Elizabeth, is towed to Port of Palm Beach, Dec. 6, 2015. While enroute to Puerto Rico, several cargo containers fell overboard off the coast of Port Canaveral, Fla. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The U.S. Coast Guard said it continues to respond to the loss of containers from the barge Columbia Elizabeth, which reported losing multiple containers into the sea between Cape Canaveral and Palm Beach, Florida, Sunday.

Marine prevention teams from Coast Guard Sector Miami and Marine Safety Detachment Lake Worth have been dispatched to the Port of Palm beach where the barge is currently being unloaded, according to the Coast Guard.

As of Tuesday afternoon, crews have removed 243 containers from the barge at the Port of Palm Beach. Crews will continue to remove containers surrounding the affected cargo bay to better access and assess how many containers were lost. The Coast Guard estimates that as many as 25 containers may have fallen overboard at sea.

Nine containers are confirmed to have fallen overboard so far. The Coast Guard said it continues to issue safety broadcasts advising those in the area to maintain a lookout for containers that may be adrift at sea.

One missing container is known to contain wet cell batteries. While the batteries are not believed to pose a serious environmental risk, the batteries do contain corrosive material which may result in chemical burns to the skin, the Coast Guard said, asking mariners and beachgoers not to approach or open any containers in the water or on shore.

Coast Guard air assets continue to search the Florida Atlantic Coast between Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral for containers in the water or along the shoreline.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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