Lightered fuel barge refloated near Tampa Bay

The following is the text of a press release issued April 4 by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(TAMPA, Fla.) — The tug Yankee and its grounded barge was successfully re-floated under its own power at about 5:15 p.m. and is being transported to an off-shore anchorage, nine-miles west of Egmont Key, Fla.

The barge will be inspected by American Bureau of Shipping vessel surveyors and Coast Guard members before being allowed to continue to Weeden Island Power Plant in St. Petersburg, Fla.  When the barge arrives at the power plant, divers will inspect the hull further.

After a tug and barge from Bouchard Transportation Company arrived, crewmembers began transferring the fuel-oil at 2:10 p.m., and after transferring approximately 20,000 barrels of the fuel oil, the grounded barge was re-floated.  Bouchard’s barge will continue to the power plant to offload their fuel oil.

The Captain of the Port of Tampa has lifted the safety zone in the vicinity of the barges.

“While not a routine event, the grounding of a large vessel is an event we and our partner agencies plan for and train for,” said Capt. Joseph A. Servidio, Captain of the Port of Tampa.  “This joint response demonstrates the benefits of that planning and training.”

“We would like to thank the Coast Guard, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bouchard Transportation Company and everyone else who has worked so hard alongside us to safely re-float our barge,” said Richard P. Falcinelli Vice President of K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P.

There has been no pollution or injuries reported.

Drug and alcohol tests of the crewmembers involved in the casualty were conducted.

The cause of the incident is under Coast Guard investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff