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January 20, 2006

Maritrans confirms three deaths in tug sinking

Maritrans Operating Company L.P. announced yesterday that the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended any further search and rescue efforts following the sinking of its tug VALOUR and confirmed that the missing crewman is presumed lost at sea.

A total of three crewmen lost their lives in the incident. Maritrans said they were Chief Mate Fred Brenner, 53, of Baltimore, Maryland, Chief Engineer Richard Smoot, 50, of South Point, Ohio, and AB/Tankerman Ron Emory, 56, of Milford, Delaware.

There are six other crewmembers who were rescued and who were reunited with their families on Thursday morning.

"This tragedy saddens all of us at Maritrans and we continue to keep the families of all of the crewmembers in our thoughts and prayers," said Jonathan Whitworth, President of Maritrans Operating Company L.P.

Maritrans said its barge M 192 safely reached the Cape Fear River under tow yesterday afternoon and was en route to Wilmington, N.C.

The barge will receive a complete condition assessment for possible damage before it returns to operations.

However, the Coast Guard's preliminary assessment did not find any damage to the barge. There continues to be no indication of any loss of oil cargo from the barge.