Sunken shrimp boat moved away from Port Royal docks

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 22, 2013 

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A shrimp boat that sank at the Port Royal shrimp docks in February 2013 is shown on the left at low tide in March in Port Royal.

SARAH WELLIVER — Staff photo Buy Photo

Boaters near the Port Royal shrimp docks should watch out for an unexpected obstacle, as the shrimp boat that sank there in early February has shifted several yards into slightly deeper water.

At high tide, the hull can just barely be spotted above the water, so owner Mark Smith tied an orange buoy to it to alert boaters.

Smith said he has been trying to remove the vessel by floating, flipping, pulling and pushing it. However, those attempts have failed to do much more than slide the boat a few yards toward the channel.

He said he thinks it will cost about $6,000 for a salvage company in Savannah to remove the boat, but said he is bankrupt and his means of making money is sitting at the bottom of the Beaufort River. He did not say why it sank, but said it was an accident.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Ocean & Coastal Resource Management and the U.S. Coast Guard have all been consulted. The town of Port Royal is deciding what to do if Smith is unable to remove it, town manager Van Willis said.

Smith said he's determined to get the boat out.

"I don't want anybody else footing my bills," he said.

In the meantime, Smith said he intends to try to push the boat up toward the shoreline, to get it away from boat traffic.

In other changes about town,

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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