Coast Guard attributes Bridgeport barge grounding to lack of training

I-TEAM: Barge ran aground off Mayport in 2021, spilling more than 9,300 tons of coal ash

A barge crash off Atlantic Beach sent coal ash into the ocean.

The Coast Guard has released an investigative brief on the grounding of the Bridgeport barge off Mayport last year.

The barge was being towed by a tugboat that was entering the St. Johns River by the jetties in March 2021. The Coast Guard brief states the tugboat was switching tow lines when it lost control of the barge, and it ran aground on the south jetty. The impact caused hull damage and flooded several holding areas. The barge was pulled off the rocks, and it remained in place for weeks, eventually spilling more than 9,000 tons of coal ash into the Atlantic Ocean, the News4JAX I-TEAM learned.

The Coast Guard lists the cause as “lack of training/familiarity with the operation” by the tugboat crew as it maneuvered between the jetties.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collected dozens of samples of seawater and sediment around the barge and determined there were only trace amounts of toxic materials in the coal ash that spilled into the ocean.

News4JAX has reached out to the Coast Guard for the detailed report.

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