The 328’ containership Bermuda Islander lost power Monday night in the Delaware River and ran aground shortly after departing from its regular U.S. port at Salem, N.J., according to the Coast Guard.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia were on an hourly communications schedule with the Netherlands-flagged motor ship and the Delaware River Pilots, as plans proceeded to get back underway. There were no reports of fuel or other spills, and no injuries among the 12 people on board.
With a high tide around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the ship was refloated, and eased back to Salem for inspection with assistance from Hillside, N.J.-based Donjon Marine Co. Inc. and Coast Guard supervision.
"Our goal is to get the vessel safely back underway while mitigating pollution," said Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Brown, an operations specialist in the Sector Delaware Bay command center. "Although there haven't been any reports of pollution, we are monitoring the situation closely to ensure it stays that way."
The Bermuda Islander was outbound Monday on its regular schedule from Salem to Hamilton, Bermuda, where it usually arrives on the Thursday of each week. Operated by Bermuda International Shipping Ltd. (BISL), the ship has been making its weekly runs since 1989, carrying cargo from the U.S. and Canada.
BISL chose the Port of Salem because it offers intermodal rail and road service without the expense and delays of larger ports, while still being close to those hubs at Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore.
With its fast turnarounds, the Bermuda Islander is a lifeline bringing food to the island population. Its schedule of Thursday arrivals was devised so Bermudians can buy fresh produce on their weekend shopping.
The ship is a central part of Bermuda’s maritime identity, and well known for lending assistance to other mariners. Over the course of two weeks last fall, the ship diverted from course twice so the crew could assist yachts in distress and heavy weather.