(Florida)- At approximately 11:50 p.m. on January 17, 2006, the Maritrans Tug Valour, towing the Maritrans tank barge M 192, began taking on water in heavy seas approximately 20 mi east of Cape Fear, North Carolina. The tug separated from the barge and reportedly sank at approximately 2:30 a.m.
While no information is currently available on the cause of the sinking, initial reports are that some members of the 9-man crew were injured and that the crew abandoned ship.
The double-hulled bargeM 192 is carrying 135,000 bbl of #6 oil, and is adrift. While no damage has been reported to the barge, Maritrans has nonetheless activated its oil spill emergency response plan to respond to this incident.
The US Coast Guard was notified and dispatched a rescue helicopter to the scene. Other vessels in the vicinity of the incident are rendering assistance.