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Mechanical Failure Likely Culprit in Barge Grounding

A mechanical problem with the General II barge likely caused the vessel’s steering to fail Sunday, Boyson Inc. head Sherry Boynes-Jackson said Monday.

The barge then grounded on a reef outside Cruz Bay about a half-mile west of Enighed Pond Marine Facility.

Divers inspected the General II, but Boynes-Jackson said the barge needs a more thorough evaluation to ascertain the extent of the problem.

“We took the vessel down to dry dock in St. Thomas,” she said.

The barge’s captain, Mario Josselin, passed a field sobriety test Sunday, Boynes-Jackson said.

She anticipated that the General II would be out of service for about three days but would have a better idea after it’s inspected Tuesday.

“Keep your fingers crossed,” she said.

According to Boynes-Jackson, the keel is damaged, but the General II doesn’t appear to have a hole in its bottom. The barge made it to the dock under its own power.

Smaller vessels took the passengers to shore, but the vehicles remained on board until late Sunday. Boynes-Jackson said that the company sent some of the passengers home in taxis, while others provided their own transportation.

Some returned later to pick up their cars. In some cases, Boynes-Jackson said her staff delivered their vehicles.

Boynes-Jackson said she did not know if the reef suffered damage.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said Monday the incident remains under investigation.

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