Norfolk: high winds blew bulk coal carrier ashore

The Ornak, a 751-foot bulk carrier, is shown aground near First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Va., Thursday, April 17, 2014. The ship became grounded after severe weather passed through the Hampton Roads region Tuesday evening. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn HillAground at Norfolk

Bulk coal carrier driven ashore by high winds on the Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk. Photo by Barbara Basbara

Bulk coal carrier driven ashore by high winds on the Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk. Photo by Betty N. Basbara

Special Report from Alan V. Cecil
NORFOLK, Va. — This collier was anchored at the Lynnhaven anchorage at the southern-most shores of the Chesapeake Bay while waiting berth space in Norfolk.  The tempest of northern winds on Tuesday night that smashed into the northern shores of Willoughby Spit and Ocean View sea side communities of Norfolk and Lynnhaven Inlet, Chesapeake Beach, Little Creek Inlet, and Chick’s Beach communities of Virginia Beach, Virginia scattered many ocean going cargo and coal ships that were anchored at an officially approved anchorage.  Many ships reportedly “dragged anchor” and this vessel, virtually empty, dragged her anchors and tossed the hapless coal ship aground and she is stuck in about 15 feet of seawater, hardly enough to power away.
Reportedly the ship was waiting to take on coal and consequently there isn’t anything to lighten her load in attempts to refloat her.  Coast Guard authorities are investigating.
One might wonder where was the lookout and captain in such a potentially dangerous gale force wind.  Most Chesapeake Bay fishing captains and competent sailors know that in stormy conditions that a “watch” needs to be maintained to see that the vessel doesn’t wind up like this “high and (almost) dry” beleaguered vessel.  Heads will probably roll over this incident.
Photo by Betty N. Basbara, Norfolk, VA.

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