January 19, 2006

Coast Guard suspends search for missing man, tug

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Maritrans Inc, a maritime petroleum
transport company, said on Thursday said search and rescue
efforts had been called off for its tug Valor and a missing

The vessel sank off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina
Tuesday night while towing a barge filled with 130,000 barrels
of oil. Two crew members were found dead. Six others were
rescued alive. The U.S. Coast Guard halted the search for the
missing man and the tug on Thursday.

The three dead were identified as: Chief Mate Fred Brenner,
53, of Baltimore, Maryland; Chief Engineer Richard Smoot, 50,
of South Point, Ohio; and Tankerman Ron Emery, 56, of Milford,

The tug sank after the barge it was towing broke loose,
some 20 miles east of Cape Fear.

"This tragedy saddens all of us at Maritrans and we
continue to keep the families of all of the crew members in our
thoughts and prayers," said Jonathan Whitworth, chief executive
officer of Maritrans.

Maritrans Operating Company LP, a unit of Maritrans, said
in a statement that there was no indication any of oil was

The company's stock, which slid 5.5 percent on Wednesday
after news of the incident, rebounded on Thursday and closed up
5.3 percent or $1.32 at $26.19.