Ro-ro ship runs aground in U.S. Virgin Islands

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAINT THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands) – The Coast Guard is investigating the grounding of the Sabre Spirit, a 190-foot Panamanian flag roll-on/roll-off cargo ship, after the vessel ran aground Friday morning off Current Cut, between the islands of Saint Thomas and Great Saint James, U.S. Virgin Islands, and was refloated afterwards with the rising tide.

There is no sign of oil pollution leaking from the vessel and the vessel does not present a threat to the environment at this time.  The Sabre Spirit was transiting from Tortola, British Virgin Islands to Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas with a 12-man crew; no injuries were reported.

Coast Guard marine casualty investigators are investigating the cause of the grounding and future enforcement actions for the Sabre Spirit are currently being evaluated.

"The cause of the grounding is under investigation,” Capt. Drew W. Pearson, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.  “The close interagency coordination and response from Sea Tow and the Coast Guard averted an environmental tragedy in U.S. Virgin Island waters.”

Coast Guard Sector San Juan received initial notification of the incident from the Sabre Spirit at approximately 10 a.m. Friday reporting that the vessel had run aground.  Shortly thereafter, the Sabre Spirit notified that the vessel had been refloated and was taking on water.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment and Boat Forces St. Thomas personnel immediately responded and notified Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency of the developing situation.  Sea Tow Virgin Islands arrived on scene and accomplished temporary repairs to the Sabre Spirit, which allowed for the vessel to be escorted into Crown Bay, where it is currently moored and conducting further damage assessments.

By Professional Mariner Staff