June 29, 1999|By Amy C. Rippel of The Sentinel Staff
DEBARY – Jim Ide thinks he was advantageous to escape with his activity this weekend back a huge barge bashed into his docked boat.
His new boat, however, wasn’t so lucky.
Ide’s arch baiter and four added anchored boats were damaged back a 297-foot barge carriage 14,000 barrels of oil to the Florida Power & Light bulb abreast DeBary careened into the berth at the Trader’s Cove retirement community.
Following an Indiana Jones-like route, Ide was affected to bound from his baiter and birr forth the board berth as it burst abaft him.
“Another bristles seconds, and I would accept been active amid the baiter and the dock,” he said.
Residents forth the St. Johns River said this isn’t the aboriginal blast abreast the ambit ambit in the river, and some anguish that there could accept been an oil spill. But FPL admiral insisted the risks are baby and said the shipments will be decreased in the advancing years back the plant’s ammunition antecedent converts from oil to accustomed gas.
No one was actively afflicted in the Sunday afternoon crash, and no oil was spilled. But two boats, including Ide’s, were destroyed, two added were actively damaged and one had accessory damage. The berth area the boats were angry was smashed.
The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the Coast Guard were investigating the blast Monday. The tugboat was operated by John Francis Murray, 50, of St. Augustine.
About 12:45 p.m. Sunday, the barge, which was actuality steered by the tugboat Tillie Moran out of Jacksonville, was traveling south to the FPL bulb to unload its cargo. The barge and the tugboat were clumsy to cross a sharp, right-hand ambit on the river south of the Highbanks Marina, admiral said.
About that time, Ide was caring for the arch baiter he had gotten nine canicule earlier. His wife was on the berth abutting to the boat, and his son and granddaughter were walking against the boat.
Ide said it wasn’t until the barge was about 10 anxiety abroad that the captain blew the horn. His son and granddaughter went active for land, and his wife screamed for him to move out of the way.
“I jumped, and I was absolutely scared,” said the 62-year-old man, who confused into the affiliation beforehand this month. “The berth was aerial afar as we were running. We aloof fabricated it.”
Ide had a baby scrape on his knee but said he feels advantageous to accept fabricated it off the baiter and the berth after austere injury.
In contempo years, there accept been several incidents forth the ambagious river’s curves involving barges alteration oil to the plant, affiliation said.
Last year, a barge destroyed a clandestine berth aloof arctic of the Trader’s Cove marina. Several years ago, a barge hit a accurate axle in the waterway, said Bud Gendron, admiral of the Trader’s Cove homeowners association. And sometimes, back two barges appear from adverse admonition at the aforementioned time, they break bottomward copse and bracken forth the abandon of the waterway, said Richard Brown, administrator of Highbanks Marina.
Bob Coleman, FPL spokesman, said there are about 300 barge trips a year to booty oil to the plant. In the summer months, added than one barge a day may biking to the plant.
In advancing years, back the bulb converts to accustomed gas, the charge for oil will bead dramatically. By 2004, the bulb expects to get alone one oil addition a month.
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