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Coast Guard Frees Ship Stuck on Reef

March 29, 2005 – Two tugboats Tuesday dislodged a 400-foot cargo ship from a sandy coral reef south of St. Croix where it had run aground two days earlier, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.
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, said Lt. j.g. Eric Willis, a Coast Guard spokesman.
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 tugboats could pull it free from the reef, he said.
Coast Guard boats distributed oil-catching devices around the grounded boat in case any fuel leaked, Willis said, but none did.
The cargo boat carrying dry goods, originally bound for Jacksonville, Fla., from St. Lisas, Trinidad, docked in 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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