Nov 12, 2004

Guantanamo bound barge grounds

Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Jacksonville, Fla., 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. yesterday.

The barge grounded on the north side of the Mayport Jetties where it was said to be "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 hired Titan Marine, LLC to remove the barge and salvage operations were anticipated to begin tomorrow.

The Coast Guard requires the owner of the barge to hire a commercial salvage company and present a salvage plan to the Coast Guard for approval.

Coast Guard marine inspectors and 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.

The Spence and Guantanamo Bay Express make regular trips from Jacksonville to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

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