2,700 tons of ash removed from barge stranded offshore

Nearly 10,000 tons of coal fired ash remains onboard

Crane and tug boats continue operations around stranded barge.
Crane and tug boats continue operations around stranded barge. (Sky 4/WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the maritime industry, it’s known as lightering: transferring cargo between vessels to lighten its draft.

That process continues off the coast of Atlantic Beach after a massive barge named the Bridgeport carrying a load of coal ash ran aground on a sandbar late last month. A salvage team using a crane mounted on a second barge removed another 505 tons of ash on Tuesday,

In the past week, 2,700 tons of ash has been transferred off the Bridgeport. Nearly 10,000 tons remain.

The crew was working to transfer more ash Wednesday but anticipated that heavy weather will interrupt the operation later this week.

The process of offloading the ash could cost millions.

The barge was coming from Puerto Rico and headed to a port in Jacksonville when it ran aground. The coal ash aboard was ultimately headed to a landfill in Southeast Georgia.

There have been concerns about potential environmental impacts after the barge, which has been stranded in the ocean off the coast of Hannah Park since March 22, was damaged and began taking on water.

Image taken from aboard Bridgeport of the salvage crane barge Farrell 256. (Photo courtesy of Global Diving & Salvage Inc.)

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