Coast Guard Oversees Salvage of Sunken Tug in North Carolina

Miss Bonnie tug
U.S. Coast Guard members oversee the salvage of the tugboat Miss Bonnie near Oregon Inlet, N.C., Nov. 21, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard has been monitoring the salvage of a semi-submerged tugboat which leaked diesel fuel in the vicinity of the Old Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. 

The tugboat, Miss Bonnie, allided with the bridge and was overwhelmed by storm surge resulting in the vessel being partially sinking submerged near the Old Bonner Bridge last Sunday.

A sheen was first reported coming from the vessel by Monday morning. The Coast Guard reported previously that the maximum potential discharge was about 6,000 gallons, however, it is estimated 3,000 gallons were on board the tug when it sank.

The Coast Guard said it 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 and 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.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.