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Coast Guard helps cargo ship that ran aground near Virginia Beach

The U.S. Coast Guard was called to help a cargo ship that ran aground near Virginia Beach.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The U.S. Coast Guard assisted the crew of a bulk carrier ship after it ran aground Thursday morning.

The incident happened about 2.5 miles east of Virginia Beach.

Crew members on the JSW Salem, a 958-foot bulk carrier, contacted watchstanders in Portsmouth after the ship ran aground near Cape Henry Buoy #4.

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A response boat crew from Station Little Creek arrived on the scene to assist. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, also helped with the overflight of the scene.

"Our top priority is always the safety of life," said Capt. Kevin Carroll, commander of Sector Hampton Roads. "Preserving the environment and protecting maritime commerce are also some of our top priorities. We are pleased there were no injuries or pollution reported during this incident, and I applaud our Coast Guard crews and first responders that sprang into action to successfully resolve this incident."

The JSW Salem was able to refloat because of the rising tide, and the RB-M crew escorted the ship to an anchorage about 1 mile off Virginia Beach.

How the cargo ship ran aground is being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Paul Pattaglia has lived on the North End for more than 30 years. He’s seen a lot of large cargo ships but this is the first time he’s seen one get too close to shore.

“They come by every day of the year but Christmas, during the course of the day you’ll see 20 or 30 of them," said Pattaglia. "Honestly I’ve never seen one stuck before, the pilots usually do a wonderful job and keep them right in the channel I'm surprised this happened actually.”

His biggest concern was the environment, possibly the bottom of the boat being sliced open, which did not happen.

“The nice part about where it is, if there is anything nice at all, is that the ground is sandy, it's not rocky like New England,” said Pattaglia.

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