Crew escapes after tugboat hits Outer Banks bridge

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The following is an update from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(OREGON INLET, N.C.) — The Coast Guard is monitoring the salvage of a semi-submerged tugboat responsible for a discharge of diesel fuel in the vicinity of the Old Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet.

The tugboat grounded and was overwhelmed with storm surge resulting in the vessel overturning and becoming partially submerged near the Old Bonner Bridge on Nov. 17 at 11:09 a.m. The sheen resulting from the submersion was monitored and collected by crews contracted by the responsible party.

The Coast Guard has overseen the deployment of 2,500 feet of sorbent boom and 1,600 feet of containment boom around the vessel to prevent any further spillage.

There have been no reports of impacts to wildlife at this time. The channel remains open to all vessel traffic.

"We're taking every precaution to ensure that the salvage process is as safe as it can be for all involved," said Lt. Chris Fisher, supervisor for Coast Guard Detached Duty Nags Head, N.C. "We're also dedicated to making sure that any additional discharge of fuel is captured and collected before it can impact the environment."

Currently, the approved salvage plan calls for the vessel to be dewatered and towed to a harbor of safe refuge where the responsible party can develop a suitability for tow plan before further movement.

Involved in the response are:

* Coast Guard Detached Duty Nags Head, N.C.
* PCL Construction
* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Scientific Support Coordinator
* North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
* National Park Service

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.


(OREGON INLET, N.C.) — The Coast Guard responded to the allision of the tugboat Miss Bonnie with the Old Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet on Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard received the report of the allision from a good Samaritan at approximately 11:09 a.m.

The tugboat is currently semi-submerged, leaning up against the Old Bonner Bridge. All eight people aboard the tugboat returned to shore safely and reported they had no injuries. No pollution has been reported.

The cause of the case is currently under investigation.

Editor's note: OBX Today reported that the tug hit the bridge while attempting to secure a barge that broke free in storm conditions. The bridge no longer carries traffic and is being converted into a fishing pier.

By Professional Mariner Staff