Cargo ship runs aground off coast of Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Coast Guard helped the crew of a bulk carrier ship after it ran aground about 2.5 miles east of Virginia Beach, Thursday morning.

Crew members aboard the JSW Salem, a 958-foot bulk carrier, contacted Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders in Portsmouth after the ship ran aground near Cape Henry Buoy #4, Coast Guard officials said.

The ship’s crew reported there were 120,000 metric tons of coal and 26 people aboard the ship.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Little Creek launched and arrived on scene to assist. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, also launched to conduct an overflight of the scene.

The JSW Salem was able to refloat with the rising tide and the RB-M crew escorted the ship to an anchorage about 1 mile off Virginia Beach.

“Our top priority is always the safety of life,” said Capt. Kevin Carroll, commander of Sector Hampton Roads. “Preserving the environment and protecting maritime commerce are also some of our top priorities. We are pleased there were no injuries or pollution reported during this incident, and I applaud our Coast Guard crews and first responders that sprang into action to successfully resolve this incident.”