ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 12 people from the Bonnie G on Wednesday morning, after the vessel ran aground south of St. Thomas and its crew had to abandon ship.
The USCG in San Juan, Puerto Rico, received a distress call from the Bonnie G at 3:41 a.m. According to the USCG, the report noted how the vessel was taking on water in the engine room, leading to people onboard abandoning the ship onto two life rafts and a lifeboat.
USCG then notified the Boat Forces Detachment St. Thomas, who deployed a boat crew to rescue the 12 survivors from the Bonnie G and bring them to Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas.
The Coast Guard is still investigating the cause of the crash, but weather conditions were poor at the time due to the proximity of Tropical Storm Philippe. The storm was about 55 miles from St. Thomas at the time of the crash, according to the NHC.
The NHC had warned of "life-threatening surf" in the area due to Philippe, and the NWS predicted 5- to 7-foot seas near St. Thomas. Weather from nearby St. Thomas Airport showed steady, moderate rains and gusty winds to 20-25 mph around the time of the mayday call.
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According to the USCG, the Bonnie G reportedly has about 13,000 gallons of fuel and an estimated 250 gallons of lube oil onboard. Additionally, it was carrying two pallets of cargo, six cars, a truck and a trailer.
The Coast Guard said their Marine Safety Detachment and response personnel in the U.S. Virgin Islands are working with the Bonnie G vessel company to evaluate the current pollution threat.