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Two vessels collide, others grounded amid gusting winds off Virginia coast

(Reuters) - A rig vessel and a container ship collided in a shipping channel in the Chesapeake Bay, off the Virginia coast, on Tuesday amid gusting winds blamed for causing a bulk carrier to run aground and a dozen other ships to drag anchor, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The 79-foot (24-meter) rig vessel, Petite, and a 1,065-foot container ship, MSC Charleston, "reportedly collided due to weather" at about 7.30 p.m., the Coast Guard said in a statement.

"There was no initial report of damage, pollution or injuries to either vessel, and both are safely anchored pending a Coast Guard investigation," it said.

The winds gusting to 70 mph at Cape Henry caused 12 ships anchored in the Lynnhaven vicinity to drag anchor and caused a 751-foot bulk carrier, Ornak, to run aground at about 8.35 p.m., the Coast Guard said.

Local tug boat operators and the Virginia Pilot office sent boats to help stabilize wayward vessels.

The Coast Guard said there were no reports of injuries or pollution, though it made no mention of disruptions to shipping traffic.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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