Crews aboard the doomed cargo ship Bonnie G were removing any pollutants that might contaminate the waters where it’s grounded, about 2,000 feet south of the Cyril E. King airport runway, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Friday.
The 195-foot ship was carrying six cars, a truck, a trailer and two pallets of other cargo when it ran aground in rough seas in the early hours of Oct. 4. The 12 people aboard abandoned ship in two life rafts and were soon rescued by the Coast Guard without injuries.
Although no petroleum or other pollutants appear to be leaking from the 1981-built, diesel-powered supply ship, federal agencies and private emergency response contractors hired by the ship’s Florida-based owners were monitoring the 13,000 gallons of fuel and approximately 250 gallons of lube oil said to be aboard.
It was still too dangerous to remove the cars and trucks, Coast Guard officials said, although their batteries and other potential pollutants had been removed. Coast Guard flyovers during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Phillipe could see the vehicles sloshing around the deck. No timeline had yet been set for when the ship may be refloated.
The Bonnie G left Christiansted at 6:41 p.m. Oct. 3 in stormy seas, bound for St. Thomas, according to the website vesselfinder.com. But the route became erratic as it approached St. Thomas Harbor from the east, according to information from the website marinetraffic.com.
The Bonnie G passed between Hassel Island and Water Island shortly after 3 a.m., passed Crown Bay, and back out to sea west of Honeymoon Beach. It abruptly turned around roughly 2,000 feet southwest of the airport runway and started back toward Water Island before running aground.
The ship, designed to handle rolling cargo like cars, needs a minimum depth of roughly 10.8 feet to operate safely, according to the Boat Watch app.
Messages sent to the Bonnie G’s owners, MMS Americas, were not immediately returned. MMS America and the ship’s management company, Third Lady LLC, share a Palm Beach, FL address.