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Shrimp boat sinks, spills fuel in Varnamtown

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

VARNAMTOWN—An old shrimp boat sank in this Brunswick County seafood town last week, spilling fuel into the Lockwood Folly River that required cleanup and a likely citation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 70-foot-long boat, Second Joy, sank last Wednesday night, boat owner Albert Stanley said.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Stanley said as he waited out the cleanup with a few other residents Monday inside Robinson’s Seafood near the dock where his boat tipped over on its port side toward the channel.

He said worms got in the boat and ate “a bad place” in it, causing it to sink.

Other residents said it was just a matter of time before the docked boat, which had a blown engine, capsized because it had been deteriorating in the water for several years.

“Well, we all knowed it was going to happen,” said Ronald Carter of Beacon One Seafood. “It was just sitting there. It’s been sitting there the last five years.”

Stanley “hadn’t had a chance to do nothing with it,” Carter said. “He can’t move it because the engine blowed up.”

The thing with boats is you don’t know when one might sink, added

fellow fisherman George Danford as the men sat inside the seafood market.

“A fishing rig is looking for a place to sink,” he said. “That’s the way all of ’em are going to do eventually. Fuel prices have got everybody where they can’t afford to do nothin’.”

Nonetheless, Coast Guard petty officer Donald Degrado said he expected a citation to be issued for the incident.

Monday, Degrado said the most immediate concern was removing the spilled fuel.

“Our main concern is to keep it out of the river so it doesn’t contaminate,” he said.

The Coast Guard is responsible for that, but the owner is responsible for what happened, Degrado said.

“Right now it’s still under investigation,” he added.

He said it would be up to Stanley to determine what to do with the boat.

“We’re concerned with getting the fuel off before it damages something big,” Degrado said, citing the adjacent shellfish waters.

Southeast Response & Remediation, an environmental cleanup company based in Wilmington, was summoned to the scene to siphon and collect the leaking fuel.

Keith Meeks, part of a crew at work on the tipped-over boat, estimated about 200 gallons of gas had spilled.

Stanley said the sunken boat, previously named Lady Mary before he bought it, once brought in one of the largest shrimp hauls ever recorded.

He said it took five minutes to net the shrimp and all day to bring up. He said he didn’t know how much the haul weighed.

“I wasn’t on the boat then,” he said. “I don’t remember, but the feller said the doors come up and shrimp was pouring out of the mouth of the net.”

Danford said turtle excluders that shrimpers are now required to have prevent any more shots at record-setting like that.

“You lose half of what you drag in,” he said.