The Coast Guard responded to the "allision" of the tugboat Miss Bonnie with the Old Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet, Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard received the report of the allision from a good Samaritan at approximately 11:09 a.m..

The tugboat is currently semi-submerged, leaning up against the Old Bonner Bridge. All eight people aboard the tugboat returned to shore safely and reported they had no injuries. No pollution has been reported.

Investigators are working to determine how this happened.

The QCaptain website quotes a contributor with a strikingly pertinent definition of "allision":

Allision is a violent striking (such as in a collision) with a fixed object. This is in contrast with “vessel contact” with a fixed object such as would be made with bridge fenders in the ordinary course of say a tug and barge passing under a bridge.

Bridge owners would prefer to classify all vessel/bridge interactions as “allisions” when fender systems have not been maintained and simply fall apart upon incidental contact, or were never properly designed.

The right of navigation generally supercedes the right of the bridge to obstruct the waterway. Bridge fenders are intended to protect the vessel, not the bridge. Congress allowed the bridge to be constructed with the provision that navigation would not be interfered with.

Under the “Oregon Rule” the burden of proof is on the moving vessel to prove that the allision was the stationary object’s fault. This might be shown, for example, if the fender was encroaching upon the navigation channel either from damage, or in some cases because it was not built or repaired according to the permit.

Demolition of the 2.7-mile Bonner Bridge began earlier this year, and according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, will be completed in early 2020. Its replacement, the Basnight Bridge was put into service prior to the start of demolition.

Currituck Beach Light to Wimble Shoals

Oregon Inlet, about 2.5 miles south of Bodie Island Light, is the most northerly of the Outer Banks inlets and is considered one of the most changeable of all East Coast inlets. Nonetheless, a large number of local sportfishing boats use Oregon regularly. Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station is on Bodie Island north of the inlet.

Constant shoaling and strong currents makes this inlet difficult at best; the Coast Pilot reports up to 5 knots during southwesterly conditions. Current knowledge is a must to safely use this inlet. Radio the U.S. Coast Guard station for up to date information on the placement of the markers. Do not attempt this inlet in foul weather. You would be far wiser—and safer—to stay well offshore and ride it out.

Average maximum current and direction: 2.1 knots, 202° flooding; 1.2 knots, 028° ebbing.

A marked and dredged channel leads south to Pamlico Sound and the ICW.

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