A tugboat company in Chattanooga, Tennessee, whose vessel was involved in a fatal tugboat accident earlier this year that killed two fishermen, has blamed the fishermen for their own deaths.

The company, Serodino Inc. owned the tugboat that crashed into a boat containing the victims. There were three fishermen on the fishing vessel. On the day of the accident, the tugboat was pushing a barge formation consisting of three barges, and each barge was about 200 feet long. The entire barge formation measured about 647 feet long. The fishing boat was in a navigation channel, and the fishermen did not see the tugboat, which was traveling at about 5 mph.

According to one of the fishermen who survived the accident, they did not notice that the barge formation was about 300 feet away. That would have given the fishermen plenty of time to get out of the way, but according to the fishermen who survived, the boat’s engine stalled.  Two of the fishermen died in the accident, while one survived. The tugboat operator did not even seem to notice that there was an accident, and the barge continued on its way after the tragedy.

Serodino has been facing investigations by the US Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is specifically looking into whether the tugboat the BearCat had a stationed look out at the time of the accident. Investigators are also looking at whether the fishing vessel was equipped with a lookout. The nine man crew on the barge as well as the three fishermen, including the victims, have already been tested for drugs and alcohol.  Serodino denies that it was responsible in any way for the accident.

This is not the first time that maritime lawyers have found such behavior by the company.  Serodino also denied responsibility when the same tugboat was involved in another fatal fishing boat accident a few years ago.