Coast Guard Investigates Tugboat Grounding

 NORFOLK, VA – Personnel from U. S. Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads are investigating the grounding of the RUSSEL B. MURRAY, a 104-foot towing vessel owned by Express Marine Incorporated, near the Newport News Small Boat Harbor earlier today.

The crew reported their vessel hard aground at the mouth of the Newport News Small Boat Harbor, near the northern end of the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel. As a result of the grounding, the vessel was taking on water through a 6-inch hole in their engine room. The crew mitigated the flooding with onboard bilge pumps and assistance from CG Station Portsmouth personnel. Oil pollution has resulted from the grounding and pollution response contractors are on scene to contain and mitigate the spill. Personnel from Sector Hampton Roads Investigations and Inspections Divisions are on scene to oversee all response measures.

The vessel owners are working with pollution response contractors, divers and the Coast Guard to lighter the fuel that is contained within the vessel fuel tanks to eliminate the pollution threat. Once the pollution threat is eliminated, divers will inspect the hull for damage and make temporary repairs so that the vessel can be transferred to a shipyard for permanent repairs.

The Coast Guard is working with vessel representatives to determine the cause of the grounding and subsequent oil spill.

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