The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — The Coast Guard placed transit restrictions on the Thimble Shoals Channel on Thursday between buoys 1 and 2, and Anchorage C west of Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel after a buoy sank in the channel.
Only vessels with a 20-foot draft or less are allowed to transit through the channel.
At 4:30 p.m., 5th District Coast Guard watch standers were notified a vessel being towed by McAllister Towing of Virginia and buoy 11 allided. The buoy was dragged and subsequently sank in the channel between buoys 1 and 2, and Anchorage C.
The Coast Guard is working with personnel from the Army Corps of Engineers, Virginia Pilots Association, Virginia Port Authority and Virginia Beach Police Department to assess and reopen the channel.
The Virginia Beach Police department is using side-scan sonar, and the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Frank Drew is on scene to locate the buoy, which is 26 feet tall, 8 feet wide and weighs 12,100 pounds. An HH-60T medium-range recovery helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., is also assisting in the search for the buoy.
There are currently three inbound vessels and one outbound vessel awaiting transit through the channel.