Crews work to recover containers that fell off barge
PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Crews said it will take days to remove nearly two dozen containers that tipped over on a barge.
"We're not in a rush against time here, nor are the people here doing the salvage operation. The goal here is safety--to safely off-load those containers," said Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles.
Wednesday crews worked to recover the containers that fell into the sea and remove the last of the containers leaning on a barge at Port Everglades. "They have to disconnect the containers. This is like a giant game of pick-up sticks, but it's no game," said Jachles. "It's carefully calculating which container needs to come off and detaching that container and then removing it and off-loading it to the land side."
The tedious process of transfering dozens of containers to another barge, comes two days after 22 containers fell overboard.
According to the Coast Guard, the barge was sailing from Jacksonville to the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when about two dozen containers fell into the ocean Monday night. "Right now our main concern is to contain the environment, contain the incident, locate the containers and pull them back," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Mike Barney.
The containers, carrying groceries and other household items, were destined for the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay. However, some of the containers have hazardous materials in them. "Hazardous materials can translate into a lot of things. It could mean household bleach, it could be something in your kitchen cupboard," said Jachles. "But it depends on how those are used, how they're stored if they combine with other chemicals."
The captain had to reroute the barge to Port Everglades. The containers have been spotted floating as far north as 26 miles off the coast of Lake Worth, all they way down to 18 miles off of Key Biscayne. "All the containers that have been found, so far, have been marked with strobe lights to let them know where they're at," said Barney.
The Coast Guard said that out of the 22 containers lost at sea, only one has been recovered.
This incident is still under investigation. "Right now it is still under investigation as to how and what happen in the incident," said Barney. "Right now, we have investigators, there trying to determine what happened."
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