The Virginia Maritime Association honored the crews of two Hampton Roads tugboats for rounding up drifting vessels as severe weather swept the region late last winter.
The crews of two Vulcan Materials tugs, the 56’x22’x7’, 750-hp Captain Ron L and the 72.9’x28.1’x9.4’, 1,059-hp Captain Hank, went into action March 2 as a line of storms brought high winds sweeping the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River at Norfolk, Va.
Several large barges and decommissioned vessels broke away from their moorings, drifting between the Campostella Bridge and the Norfolk & Southern #5 Railroad Bridge.
The crews caught and safely moored the vessels, heading off potential allisions with the rail bridge and tank barges moored at the C&M Industries terminal.
Their actions “prevented serious damage to property and potential environmental losses, as well as disruption of rail service for goods traded through the Port of Hampton Roads,” according to maritime association officials. Capt. Mason Keeter of Van Line Bunkering, who serves as chairman of the Virginia Maritime Association’s Towing & Barge Operators Committee, presented each crewmember with a plaque of resolution thanking them.
The Coast Guard captain of the port for Hampton Roads, Capt. R.J. Wester, stated in a letter to Vulcan Materials: “The actions your personnel took denotes the professionalism of your company and serves as another example of the synergy necessary between all Port Partners to ensure for the safety, security, and economic vitality of the Port of Hampton Roads.”
William Gillbert of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads presented Capt. Ron Edmonson and Capt. Wesley Butler with the Coast Guard letter. The VMA resolution honors the captains and their crewmembers Daniel Frame, Donald Churchill, Douglas Boarman and Chris Ragani “for their fast thinking, selflessness and professionalism.”