A 30-foot lobster boat drifted into the rocky shoreline off the north side of Mary’s Point in the V.I. National Park around 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, March 29.
While no one was injured and the area is not home to much sensitive coral, officials believe a ruptured fuel tank on the vessel might have dumped about 50 gallons of diesel fuel into VINP waters.
After receiving a call of distress the morning of March 29, U.S. Coast Guard and VINP officials arrived on the scene to find the MV Rosaly taking on water just off Mary’s Point around the point from Francis Bay on the island’s north shore.
St. John Rescue personnel also responded to the emergency, but their assistance was not needed, according to VINP Superintendent Mark Hardgrove.
The lobster boat had been taking on water and the four men aboard were trying to deal with that situation when they drifted into the rocky shoreline of Mary’s Point, Hardgrove explained.
Sea Tow arrived shortly after the VINP officials and using three flotation bags, mariners were able to float the Rosaly to Independent Boat Yard in Red Hook, St. Thomas, the VINP superintendent added.
VINP officials will conduct a damage assessment soon, but don’t expect to see much damage, according to Hardgrove.
“As far as we know, no coral was damaged in the area,” said the VINP superintendent. “We have the GPS coordinates of where they ran aground and we’ll get out and see what, if any, damage there is.”
The shoreline and sea bottom in the area consist mostly of rocks, according to VINP’s Chief of Resource Management Rafe Boulon.
“It is really just a rocky shoreline there,” said Boulon. “There could be some fire coral scattered about, but we don’t think there is really much in the area.”
USCG officials planned to inspect the vessel on St. Thomas and determine why it was taking on water, according to officials.