News

Research vessel damages reef, does not report incident timely

A University of Miami marine research vessel crashed into a coral reef in Biscayne National Park on Oct. 13, but the crew did not notify authorities, said Jennifer Johnson, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson.

The incident was reported later by Otis Brown, dean of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, who sent an “official memorandum” to Biscayne National Park, said university spokesperson Barbra Gonzalez. Gonzalez said she is not authorized to divulge information about the length of time it took to report the incident. Still, Brown will be leading an internal investigation.

Parks managers said it took 10 days to report the incident, The Miami Herald reported.

The vessel crashed on its way down Hawk Channel when it hit a reef southeast of Elliot Key. The captain and crew onboard were UM employees accompanied by members from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The master of the vessel is supposed to verbally notify the Coast Guard immediately,” Johnson said. “They then have five days to file a written report, a federal form, required for all vessels that run aground. They didn’t do either.”

Johnson added that the university could face civil penalties in addition to having their license suspended or revoked. The Department of the Interior will handle consequences of damage done to the environment.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the crew for possible negligence and for failing to immediately report the grounding to marine safety officers. Brown said the captain did not report the incident because after the crash he determined the vessel was still fit to sail.

Brown said the incident was not properly reported but that it was not intended to be covered up.

“We are all quite concerned about any damage to the environment and are particularly concerned about local coral ecosystems,” Brown said. “We have offered to work with the Park Service to repair any damage. Moreover, we are reviewing and strengthening all sailing procedures to minimize the possibility of any future accidents.”

Chelsea Kate Isaacs may be contacted at c.isaacs1@umiami.edu

November 29, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

UM was very fortunate that junior linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud a ...

Hard Rock Stadium will be filled with Miami fans — and probably only Miami fans — when the two colle ...

They made school history on Sunday with a nationally-televised road upset of No. 2 Louisville, and o ...

Mark Walton, the former University of Miami star football player and current Cincinnati Bengal, was ...

Don Chaney Jr. says his recruitment is over and the way he talks about the Miami Hurricanes, it’s ea ...

Miami Law’s Frances Hill answers key questions about the National Emergencies Act. ...

Researcher Rebecca Bulotsky Shearer is leading a study aimed at increasing the number of kids who ar ...

UM alumna Alina Mayo Azze, who has covered a myriad of topics during her 37-year career, has been a ...

Happiness and well-being scholar Tal Ben-Shahar is UM’s newest Distinguished Presidential Scholar. ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

The No. 20 Miami women's basketball team stormed back from a 14-point deficit to pick up the bi ...

Hours after garnering espnW National Player of the Week distinction, Emese Hof of the Miami women ...

For the second straight Monday, a member of the Miami women's basketball team has earned a nati ...

Brian Van Belle struck out five over six shutout innings to help the Canes sweep Rutgers on opening ...

The No. 25-ranked University of Miami golf team moved up two spots on Monday's leaderboard at t ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.