A 65-foot ferry boat carrying Caneel Bay Resort employees to Red Hook, St. Thomas, crashed into Steven Cay on Friday evening, Dec. 30.
There were 19 passengers and two crew members on board the vessel when it ran aground on the cay outside of Cruz Bay around 9 p.m., according to the U.S. Coast Guards public relations director for Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I., Ricardo Castrodad.
We received a report from the chief ranger at St. Johns National Park that the veseel, NSI-1, ran aground at Steven Cay, he said. It was traveling from St. John to St. Thomas and hit rocks about 30 yards north of the northern tip of Steven Cay.
Three of the 19 passengers on board were transported to the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas. The other 16 passengers were taken to the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, where they were treated for minor injuries.
There was no reported pollution as a result of the accident.
The damage to the vessel was forward of the fuel tanks and there were no leaks reported, said Castrodad. The vessel sustained a 12-foot crack around eight inches wide near the stern, but forward of the tanks.
The ferry was refloated and transported by Sea Tow and Huskie Salvage to the Nanny Cay Marina for futher assesment of damages.
A navigational light on Steven Cay was operational at the time of the grounding and the weather was mild.
The captain of the vessel, whose name was not released, passed field sobriety tests. The Coast Guard is launching an investigation into the accident, and the findings could take weeks, Castrodad added.
Most of the employees that I spoke to suffered from bumps and bruises, said Rik Blyth, managing director of Caneel Bay Resort. A couple of the employees have to go back for checkups on their injuries, but everyone else seems to be doing fine.
Caneel Bay Resort has a contract with Inter-Island Boat Service to provide the two last runs of the evening from the resort to Red Hook. The resort will continue to offer the ferry service for its employees, Blyth added.
Employees have to get home, and the ferry takes them right to St. Thomas, he said. We will not discontinue the service. I will meet with the owner of the ferry company and discuss the accident.