Marina cleanup pending approval of Coast Guard

Published 9:22 pm Friday, January 28, 2011

Contributing Editor

Continued salvage operations and cleanup efforts associated with the Jan. 7 fire at McCotter’s Marina continue in varying degrees, with some of them completed, according to officials.
Lt. Shannon Scaff, spokesman for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, said the mission at the marina has been two-fold effort: environmental cleanup and salvage operations.
A containment boom surrounds the north dock of the marina and adjacent waters.
“Inside that containment area, there’s a lot of work still to be done,” Scaff said during an interview Thursday.
Waters outside the containment area have been “100 percent cleaned up and are open” to vessels, he said.
Capt. Anthony Popiel, commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, has requested that a comprehensive salvage plan be developed and submitted to the Coast Guard for review before further salvage operations continue, Scaff said. The Coast Guard wants to make sure that salvage operations concerning the sunken boats minimize the risk of further polluting Broad Creek and the Pamlico River or creating navigation hazards in the creek, he said.
Atlantic Coast Marine Group, which has an office in Beaufort, recently recovered the remains of one of the burned boats from the channel in Broad Creek.
“We did one of the boats up there. We got her up last Tuesday (Jan. 18),” said Gray Williams, ACMG spokesman, on Thursday.
Williams said that boat, the 34-foot-long Pandora, drifted from the burning north dock when the lines securing it to the dock burned, but that did not prevent it from catching fire and drifting into the channel, where it sank.
“It was a total loss,” Williams said.
ACMG hopes to perform more salvage/recovery work at the marina and its surrounding waters, Williams said.
The fire, which erupted about 12:30 a.m., slightly injured three people, sank 26 boats and damaged at least four others, according to Beaufort County officials. Physical evidence found and interviews conducted during an initial investigation of the blaze indicate it was caused by an electrical fault, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Foul play is not suspected.
Within hours of the fire being brought under control, efforts to minimize pollution of Broad Creek and the nearby Pamlico River were under way. A 24-foot-long rescue boat and crew from Coast Guard Station Hobucken was dispatched to the scene about 1 a.m. that day. The Coast Guard also helped contain debris and pollution from the fire, according the Coast Guard’s Fifth District’s public-affairs office. Pollution investigators from Coast Guard Sector North Carolina also responded to assess the amount of pollution from the fire.
Eastern Environmental Management, based in Raleigh, was hired to conduct cleanup operations.