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Ferrol Trucking Vessel Runs Aground In East Gregory Channel St. Thomas Today … Coast Guard Is On Scene

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A cargo vessel owned by Ferrol Trucking has run aground in the St. Thomas harbor, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned. No injuries have been reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard said its alert station in San Juan was contacted at about 5 a.m. today by St. Thomas Harbor pilots who reported that the Togo-flagged cargo vessel Ocean Spirit I had run aground just off of the entrance of the harbor’s East Gregory Channel.

“Someone must have fallen asleep on the job,” the V.I. Free Press’ maritime expert said. “It looks like a very strange place to run aground. I mean, if you are going to run your ship or boat into the ground, it usually happens in a channel. But then there are buoys with drafts on them. Pretty stupid unless they lost engine control altogether. These types of craft usually have plenty of emergency power available and multiple thrusters and prime movers.”

There are no reported signs of distress or oil leaking from the vessel, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, whose marine casualty investigators are on scene investigating the cause of the incident.

The East Gregory Channel entrance remains open to maritime traffic.

The crew of the Ocean Spirit I checked the depth of the ocean where the vessel’s fuel and ballast tanks were while Sea Tow St. Thomas crews conducted an underwater damage assessment of the vessel’s hull.

Coast Guard personnel are working with salvors and the vessel’s master and owner to minimize any potential environmental impact or damage to the vessel’s hull during refloating and removal operations.

The Equasis data base categorizes the 1982-built vessel as an offshore/tug supply vessel and shows the registered owner as Ferrol Trucking Services of St. Croix.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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