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Press Release | Dec. 17, 2023

Coast Guard responds to distressed vessels overnight in Tampa Bay area

Public Affairs Detachment Tampa Bay - 305-965-4672

Editor’s Note: Find all U.S. Coast Guard Southeast imagery on Dvids

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg crews responded to multiple cases, Sunday, after receiving more than 20 reports of displaced vessels during this weekend's coastal storm.

A Coast Guard Station Cortez boat crew notified Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders of two sailing vessels pinned against Cortez Bridge. The boat crew arrived on scene, located and rescued a mariner aboard one of the two vessels. The person was brought back to the station. 

Station St. Petersburg crews investigated an unmanned and adrift kayak in the vicinity of Howard Franklin Bridge. Crews searched the area, but didn’t see anyone in distress. 

The operator of a 34-foot sailboat out during the storm reported to Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders that he was up against the seawall in shallow water near Gulfport Casino. Watchstanders maintained communications with the operator until he informed watchstanders he no longer needed Coast Guard assistance. 

“In a situation where a vessel becomes adrift, the best course of action is to contact your local Coast Guard sector command center with the description and registration number of your vessel,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Caroline Dotson, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg command center watchstander. “In times of adversity, we are committed to doing everything within our capacity to support our local marine community. We recommend everyone check the local weather reports and secure their vessels when forecasted bad weather is incoming .”

Sector St. Petersburg Incident Management crews and partner agencies are responding to a diesel discharge, Sunday, from the sunken 63-foot fishing vessel Miss Jordi, off Tampa Shrimp Docks. The vessel has a maximum capacity of holding 10,000 gallons of fuel. It is reported there were about 2,000 gallons on board. Pollution responders are on scene and clean up efforts are ongoing. The cause of the sinking is under investigation. 

“Coast Guard and contracted pollution responders are on scene cleaning up the spill,” said Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg response department head. “We ask that people stay out of the area so crews can work swiftly and safely. Reports of pollution may be directed to the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.”

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