A tugboat towing two barges loaded with bridge trestle assemblies became ensnared when stronger-than-expected tidal currents pushed the barges off course and they ran into the bridge structure. Between the friction of the bridge pylons against the barges and the power of the tide the tugboat was stuck.
Tom Moore, captain of the Omega Protein vessel Tidelands, set out with crew members aboard two smaller auxiliary boats used to tend the vessel’s purse seine nets. The boats were able to push the barges off of the bridge structure, enabling the tug to pull them free.
"We had to go. We were right there watching it," said Moore, a fifth generation menhaden fisherman who has worked with Omega Protein for the past 20 years, 8 of them as a captain. "If I was captain on the tugboat, I would have surely wanted someone in my situation to come help me."
Omega Protein, the largest supplier of omega-3 fish oil ingredients based in the US, operates fishing fleets in and near Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.