Port Royal removes 3 derelict boats by shrimp docks

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 1, 2014 

More than a year after a shrimp boat sank at the Port Royal Shrimp Docks, the vessel and two other derelict boats nearby are being removed from Battery Creek.

"Hopefully by Friday we'll have it all gone," dock manager Joey Morris said. "And that's our main project for the week -- moving boats."

The first boat sank at the beginning of February 2013, causing navigation problems for boaters and damaging the town's docks, town manager Van Willis said at the time. Owner Mark Smith made several attempts to remove it but was unsuccessful.

Two other boats tied to the docks were "mechanically unsound," Willis said. They were towed to the shore, a few hundred yards from the docks, after permission was given last summer by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

Town officials have discussed ways to get rid of the boats, finally settling on dismantling them and taking the pieces to a landfill, Morris said.

The beached boats, which were removed Sunday and Monday, were easier to dispose of than the submerged one, he said. A diver attached floats to the sunken one to raise it, then a wrecker, back hoe and 400 feet of cable were used to drag it to shore Tuesday.

A fourth vessel, a house boat, remains on its side in Battery Creek near the shrimp docks. The owner's case is in Port Royal Municipal Court, where a plan is being developed to remove the boat, Willis said.

Willis estimated the total cost to remove the three boats at between $7,500 and $10,000.

Some of the cost might be recouped by selling scrap metal from the boats. The town will file lawsuits in small-claims court to try to get money from the boat owners, he said, but he does not expect to get much from the claims.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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