Aug. 4, 2002 – A 65-foot Hatteras sportfishing boat went aground around 1:30 a.m. Sunday on Johnson's Reef, off St. John's north shore.
The reef lies within the V.I. National Park and Park Superintendent John King said rangers were investigating. He said he had not been informed of the name of the boat or its captain.
A St. Thomas-based tugboat was called to pull the boat off the reef at about at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. King said the captain called a fellow boater for help in removing the seven passengers from the stranded vessel. No one was injured, and the captain and his mate remained with the boat.
The boat was finally pulled off the reef at about 1:30 p.m.
King said the boat was heading from the William Thornton, a popular bar located off Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands, to St. Thomas. "The owner is in Norway or Iceland, and he's got a full-time crew," King said.
The captain received a national park citation for negligent operation and striking an underwater feature, specifically the reef. King said park staff will dive the reef on Monday to determine the extent of the damage.
On April 7, the ferry boat Voyager Eagle ran aground on Johnson's Reef, which is well marked with buoys. The park is still calculating how much it will assess the ferry's owner, the Tortola- based Native Son Inc., for repairs to the reef. The ferry captain, Renel Lee Chalwell, received citations from the park for negligent operation and striking an underwater feature; he also faces disciplinary action by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Last week, Coast Guard Lt. John Reinert said the Voyager Eagle incident was still under investigation. No one could be reached at the Coast Guard station on St. Thomas for further information about Sunday's incident.
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