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Coast Guard heading up ship strike investigation

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Updated: 9/27/2013 11:30 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The U.S. Coast Guard has some busy days ahead.

The agency is heading the investigation of the ship that struck the Mathews Bridge.

"With so many people, so many vessels involved that just involves a lot of work and therefore a lot of time to do a thorough investigation," Lt. Comdr. Alisa Praskovich said.

As four tugboats towed the USNS 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin, it collided with a portion of the bridge, damaging part of the span. The first order of business for investigators is to identify the major players involved.       

"Interviews are occuring. Vessel equipment is being looked at. Records, documents, licenses, crew, drug and alcohol testing. Those are underway," Praskovich continued.

Praskovich says anytime a vessel sets sail, it's supposed to have a voyage plan. What is the wind like, how high is the tide? That kind of thing.

If there's a chance negligence could be to blame, the agency has the power to revoke licenses and issue fines or penalties.

"That's one of our main tasks out there. Make sure there was no criminal activity, misconduct or any sort of willful act that led to the accident."

The investigation could take at least 90 days.
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