Towboat grounds in Okeechobee Waterway, breaches hull

(MIAMI) — U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Lake Worth and salvage company crews responded to a marine casualty Friday near Clewiston, Fla.

The captain of a 46-foot towing vessel notified Coast Guard Sector Miami watch standers at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday that the vessel, Catherine, and deck barge Mobro 130 ran aground. The towboat sustained a hull breach, resulting in a ruptured fuel tank in the Okeechobee Waterway near Clewiston.

The towing vessel was initially reported to have approximately 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board.

The 46-foot towboat Catherine and deck barge Mobro 130 ran aground Friday in the Okeechobee Waterway near Clewiston, Fla. The Coast Guard reported that the towboat’s hull breached, resulting in a ruptured fuel tank but “no pollution concerns.” U.S. Coast Guard photo

A salvage company crew arrived on scene at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday and deployed boom. They reported the vessel was not discharging fuel and the vessel’s engine room was not flooded enough to trigger the bilge alarms.

However, Mobro Marine divers entered the water at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday and located an 8-inch split in the seam of the hull of the vessel where it grounded. They reported potential fuel discharge through the breach. The divers completed temporary repairs to seal the potential path of discharge at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday.

A waste management crew removed all the diesel fuel from the compromised fuel tank at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday.

“MSD Lake Worth worked in close coordination with industry partners to ensure the environmental impact of pollution was minimized and responsibly cleaned up,” said Lt. Andrew Cole, Coast Guard MSD Lake Worth supervisor. “It is imperative that mariners maintain vigilance while navigating and fully understand the potential hazards on the waterways.”

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

To report pollution, contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller