Coast Guard crews are currently responding to a distress call from the 135-foot tugboat, Valour, towing a 500-foot barge loaded with approximately 140,000 barrels of petroleum by-product
37 miles off the coast of Cape Fear
The Valour radioed the Coast Guard for help on Tuesday because they had a crewmember fall overboard, and their vessel was taking on water. A rescue helicopter from Air Facility Charleston launched to assist, and upon arriving at the scene they rescued one crewmember and transported him to Myrtle Beach Hospital, S.C.
The remaining crewmembers stayed with the struggling vessel until the Justin Fox, a 125-foot tugboat in the area, arrived on scene. The good samaritan vessel was able to rescue five crewmembers before the Valour sank in the 15 to 20-foot seas and gale-force winds.
The Coast Guard and good samaritan vessels are still searching for two crewmembers. Two Coast Guard helicopters and an airplane are searching the area. An 87-foot patrol boat is en route.
The barge is adrift and the Coast Guard is working with Maritrans, the tug's owner, to recover it.