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Tugboat runs aground on Brigantine beach

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BRIGANTINE – An 86-foot tugboat reportedly lost power before running aground on the south end of the beach early Saturday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

An investigation is currently underway to determine just what happened to the Miss Katie, which was towing a barge to Great Egg Harbor Inlet, Petty Officer David Micaleff said.

The Miss Katie remains attached to the barge, which the Coast Guard said is stuck on the north jetty at Absecon Inlet.

The Miss Katie is owned by Marquette Transportation Co., billed on the company’s website as one of the nation’s largest transportation services.

Company officials couldn’t be reached for comment on Saturday. A person who answered the phone said company offices were closed on Saturday, and that a company representative was expected to be on site by Saturday night.

The Miss Katie apparently ran aground sometime around 4:30 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

Units from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City went to the scene and reported no collision occurred and that there were no injuries, Micaleff said. The incident also resulted in no apparent environmental hazards, he said.

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Plans originally called for the tugboat and barge to get underway on Saturday, but that was ruled out because of high wind and surf conditions, Micaleff said.

“It made for some safety concerns,” he said.

Efforts to get the tugboat and barge underway are now planned for Sunday, when the weather conditions will hopefully improve, Micaleff said.

“It will make it a safer effort,” he said.

Micaleff said that four men remain on the barge. They will remain on the barge pending unless weather conditions dictate their removal by units from the Coast Guard station in Atlantic City, he said.

“Coast Guard Station Atlantic City is out there during their due diligence,” he said.

The Coast Guard is broadcasting a safety warning in connection with the tugboat and barge, Micaleff said.

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