UPDATE: Crews free stuck cargo ship

Virginia Beach, Va. – A cargo ship that ran aground near First Landing State Park during Tuesday night’s high winds has finally been freed.

The Ornak will be moved to Lynnhaven Anchorage for a hull inspection. Once it is considered safe, it will be put back into service.

View from a Virginia Beach hotel (click to enlarge)

View from a Virginia Beach hotel (click to enlarge)

The 751-foot bulk carrier Ornak was pushed aground near the stretch of beach in front of the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

The Coast Guard oversaw the re-floating of the ship on Friday morning.

Two tugboats, the AJ McAllister and the Emily Anne McAllister, were hooked to the ship, one at either end.

The ship was freed on an incoming tide at approximately 9:35 a.m.

Once the ship is deemed safe, the Coast Guard will remove the captain of the port restrictions and allow the vessel to continue on its intended voyage to load grain at the Purdue facility at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.

The Ornak wasn’t the only ship affected by Tuesday night’s high winds. The 79-foot rig vessel, Petite, and the 1065-foot container ship, MSC Charleston, reportedly collided due to weather in the main ship channel near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at approximately 7:30 p.m.

There was no initial report of damage, pollution or injuries to either vessel, and both are safely anchored pending a Coast Guard investigation.

The Coast Guard reports 12 other ships dragged anchor during the storm’s 70+ mph winds.

To help stabilize the ships, the Virginia Pilot office dispatched 11 pilots to help the vessels at anchorage.

“The Coast Guard, commercial industry and port partners are coordinating efforts to respond to the current adverse weather conditions and are monitoring all efforts to safely attend all vessels,” said Capt. John Little, the commander of Sector Hampton Roads. “Weather events such as this storm illustrate the continued need for close partnerships between the Coast Guard, industry and local emergency crews responding to maritime incidents.”