Removal of shrimp boats underway on HHI - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Removal of shrimp boats underway on HHI

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

The removal of two grounded shrimp boats on Hilton Head Island is underway.

Town leaders said they decided to go ahead and remove them because they are a major safety concern, and they're affecting businesses near by.

The cost to remove the boats is more than $150,000 and tax payers are footing the bill.

But what about the owners of the boats? According to the town's director of public projects and facilities, Scott Liggett, the town isn't expecting any compensation from the owners.

Liggett said the town waited this long to have the boats removed because South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was trying to get the owners to remove them.

According to DHEC, the owners couldn't afford it. DHEC said they've assessed penalties against the owners, but they couldn't elaborate on what those penalties are.

Liggett said the town's priority now is getting the boats out of Jarvis Creek. He says they've been there too long, and now they are a nuisance.

"We'd gotten word that we had some individuals that were climbing on the grounded boats, jumping off them, and using them almost like a playground so to speak. So it's a hazard in that regard," Liggett said, "As well as a potential hazard to boats navigating the creek, given their position."

The process to remove the boats is expected to take about 40 days.

Once the boats are out of the creek, a dive team will go down and check for any other pieces, and then they will put out a boom to help absorb any oil that may have leaked from them.

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