Virtual Coast Guard (VCG) officers responding to the foundered vessel inspected the rudder and drive assemblies before towing her back into the water. “There was a chain wrapped around the rudder line. It was most likely cut by her prop and churned around it as she began to turn. There were no buoy lines cut in the river, so this is likely to be someone tug-ugging.”
Tug-ugging smugglers use a chain to drag a streamlined cargo under their boats, pulling it beneath the observant eyes of port officials and coastal patrols. “Smugglers have to use powerful boats to pull along cargo,” said a Waterbank Coastal Patrol officer, “and risk their lines being cut by passing ships.”
Authorities are trying to track down boats that might have crossed the WCS Mathilda’s path, but an arrest is unlikely. “Smugglers are slipperier than a politician in a hallway,” said the Waterbank Sheriff.