MIAMI — The Coast Guard this week is responding to a report of 22 containers lost overboard from a TransAtlantic-operated barge about 18 miles east of Key Biscayne, Florida.
The Coast Guard says that at approximately 1 p.m. Monday, Coast Guard Sector Miami received notification from the Tug Spence that 22 containers had been lost from the Atlantic Trader, a 91-foot barge, while on a voyage from Jacksonville, Florida to the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Five of the containers lost are believed to have contained hazardous materials.
Some of the containers were initially observed by an overflight to be floating around the tug while others were still hanging over the side, toppled “like a bunch of dominoes.”
The USCG says that the tug and barge were piloted in by three tug boats and moored in Port Everglades at approximately 10:15 p.m, Monday. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet was diverted to the scene along with crewmembers from a commercial salvage company who marked the containers with strobe lights to prevent a hazard to navigation.
“Over the last two days the Coast Guard has been gathering information from the shipper TransAtlantic 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.
As the Miami Herald points out, the Atlantic Trader barge is contracted by the U.S. Navy and regularly used to transport supplies to the base in Guantanamo Bay.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.