Crime & Public Safety

Updated: Shrimp boat sinking in Beaufort area, fire officials say

The Town of Port Royal is in charge of a 60-foot shrimp boat that sunk Tuesday after it started taking on water overnight while docked behind Fish Camp in Port Royal, officials say.

The boat was about 80 percent submerged by Tuesday afternoon, Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department spokesman Ross Vezin said Tuesday.

He said it appears the boat has not been used for about a year. He said the boat is registered out of Columbia.

Port Royal Town Manager Van Willis said the town is attempting to contact the owner as it is his responsibility to remove the boat.

“However, the Town would want to remove the risk the boat poses to the dock and other boats,” Willis said.

There is no timeline for the boat’s removal as of Thursday night.

“I would expect us to do something in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Willis said.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources also had an officer respond to the scene, spokesman David Lucas said.

“The officer advised that there was a visible sheen on the water around the vessel, which is common when one goes down,” Lucas said.

The U.S. Coast Guard was able to make contact with the owner and learned about 10 to 15 gallons of fuel was on board when the boat sunk, Spokesman Ltjg.. Phillip VanderWeit said Tuesday night.

“The owner had pumped up a majority of the fuel prior to it sinking,” VanderWeit said. “The potential for pollution is minimal to none.”

Laten Reaves, captain of the shrimp boat Gracie Belle, talks about the craziest things he's caught while trawling for shrimp.