Crews Offloading Toppled Cargo Containers at Port Everglades | NBC 6 South Florida

Crews Offloading Toppled Cargo Containers at Port Everglades

Work to remove cargo containers from barge could take days: Officials



    (Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013)

    Crews continued to work Wednesday to offload several tilting cargo containers from a barge docked at Port Everglades as officials said the work could take days.

    According to the Coast Guard, about two dozen containers fell into the waters near Key Biscayne on Monday after the barge, Atlantic Trader, began listing.

    The Atlantic Trader had left Jacksonville and was on its way to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when the containers toppled like dominoes about 18 miles from Key Biscayne. Most of the containers held groceries but five had hazardous materials inside, officials said.

    Barge Spills Containers Into Waters Off Key Biscayne

    On Wednesday, Hazmat crews suited up to assess the condition and goods inside some of the containers that were offloaded at the port.

    "We have a good idea what's inside them, nothing is leaking and there's no danger at this point nor do we expect there to be any danger," Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said. "It's an unusual operation but its certainly nothing that we're not prepared to respond for."

    Coast Guard officials said of the containers that went into the water, one is visible.

    "Right now it's 27 miles off the coast of Ft. Pierce. They have commercial salvage crews there on scene monitoring the container to make sure it doesn't go anywhere, and if it does they're following it to make sure other oncoming vessels don't run into it," said Petty Officer Mark Barney.

    Officials were also searching from the air to see if they could find anymore.

    Broward First Responders Hold Drill at Port Everglades

    Jachles said the removal of the tilting containers could take days.

    "The goal here, while it's a lengthy operation, is to complete this operation safely, we're not trying to beat the clock here," he said. "This is something that's being done safely and if it takes two days, it takes two days."

    Jachles added that officials know what's inside the containers.

    "We have a good idea of what's inside them. Nothing is leaking and there's no danger at this point nor do we expect any danger," he said.