PORT EVERGLADES (CBSMiami) – A cargo ship lost some of its load off the coast of South Florida as the containers toppled over on the deck of the ship.

The ship was transporting cargo from Jacksonville to Guantanamo, Cuba, according to Port Everglades spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy.

During the voyage, 22 containers fell off the cargo ship 18 miles offshore from Key Biscayne, according to the U.S. Coast Guard which is looking into what happened.

“The most important thing, we’re going to determine is what caused the incident, what tipped them over” said Mark Barney with the Coast Guard.  “If it was, I guess, human error or environmental, it they encountered a swell that they were not prepared for.”

The ship, with other containers still toppled over, docked at Port Everglades to fix the problem. One by one, work crews have the tedious task of disconnecting and pulling apart 27 containers that tipped over.  It’s kind of like a giant game of Jenga – one wrong move and everything could collapse.

The Coast Guard, meantime, will use a helicopter to locate the exact locations where the containers fell into the water.

Two salvage companies will fish the containers out of the ocean and bring them back to Port Everglades.

The containers were loaded with various supplies for Guantanamo Bay – everything from beer to groceries and cleaning products.  The container contents also included paint and some products with hazardous chemicals.  A Broward Sheriff’s Office Haz-mat team, along with a tactical response team and marine units are there to help in case more containers should slip off the barge into the water.


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