The Coast Guard will begin a formal marine casualty investigation into the circumstances surrounding the leading to the sinking of the tug Valour, which sank 37-miles off the coast of Cape Fear
, N.C., January 18, resulting in multiple loss of life.
The hearings will begin Wednesday March 1, at 9 a.m. at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg
's Prevention Office at 155 Columbia Drive in Tampa, Fla. The investigation is intended to determine causes of the accident and obtain information that may prevent or reduce the occurrence of similar incidents.
Valour sank in 15-to-20 foot seas and gale force winds off the Carolina coast. Three people died in the accident. Five people were rescued by the tug Justine Foss, and one was rescued by a Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Air Facility Charleston, S.C.
Justine Foss along with recovered the barge and towed it to Wilmington, N.C.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles B. Barbee has been designated as the investigating officer overseeing the formal proceedings. Barbee is the executive officer of Marine Safety Unit Savannah and is a 14-year Coast Guard veteran.