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Loose barge bashes docks along St. Johns River

Coast Guard says hopper barge either got loose from tugboat or mooring

A barge somehow got loose Wednesday in the St. Johns River near Blount Island and drifted into several private docks along Ramoth Drive on Little Marsh Island, according to the Coast Guard.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A barge somehow got loose Wednesday in the St. Johns River near Blount Island and drifted into several private docks along Ramoth Drive on Little Marsh Island, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said the hopper barge either got loose from a tugboat or a mooring around 11 a.m.

By 11:30 a.m., the tugboat had regained control of the barge and was pulling it away. Coast Guard Station Mayport provided a security zone during the recovery.

No injuries were reported. But one of the damaged docks had a slanted roof. Another was mangled. And a third had wooden pilings that were about to snap.

“It looks about five or six at least docks and boats were damaged,” said Little Marsh Island Resident Mike Ziza.

Ziza said his dock sustained some damage from parts of other docks.

“There are lots of chunks of docks, floating down and beating up against our dock, and I lost all my halogen lights,” Ziza said.

A few houses away, Little Marsh Island resident Teresa Mason said she came home to find debris everywhere.

“Our dock is gone, everything,” Mason said. “It’s not salvageable.”

A spokesperson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told News4Jax the barge belongs to a contractor engaged by the Army Corps of Engineers that is dredging the entrance channel to Naval Station Mayport. This is not related to the St. Johns River Harbor Deepening Project.

The Coast Guard also said the barge has not been involved in the offloading of the Bridgeport barge, which has been stranded in the ocean off the coast of Hanna Park since March 22.


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