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News Brief: Cargo Ship Freed


March 28, 2005 — Two tug boats dislodged a 400-foot cargo ship from a sandy coral reef south of St. Croix on Tuesday where it had run aground two days earlier, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.
The Sea Cloud, laden with dozens of cargo containers and 335,000 gallons of diesel fuel in its five gas tanks, struck the reef near Ruth Cay late Saturday, Lt. Eric Willis, a Coast Guard spokesman, said.
No injuries were reported, Willis said.
Cargo and bilge water was redistributed from the bow to the stern of the
Antigua and Barbuda-registered ship, shifting weight enough that two tug boats could pull it free from the reef, he said.
Coast Guard boats had lain oil-catching devices around the grounded boat
in case any fuel leaked, Willis said. None did.
The cargo boat carrying dry goods, originally bound for Jacksonville, Fla. from St. Lisas, Trinidad, docked at St. Croix without further incident, Willis said.
Coast Guard investigators said the accident was caused by navigational error, but could not immediately elaborate. The man piloting the boat passed a Breathalyzer test administered by Coast Guard officials shortly after the accident, Willis said.


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