Abandoned shrimp boat sinks during move

Abandoned shrimp boat sinks during move
Source: SCMPD
Source: SCMPD

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - An abandoned 60 foot shrimp boat is living up to its name. Authorities have been trying to move it to a safe area until its legal owners are found.

The Dammit took on more water and then sank again Wednesday evening while TowBoatUS employees were working with Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard to pump out water to move it.

An outrigger of the Dammit fell onto the bow of one of the TowBoatUS crafts, causing it to sink as well, around 8 p.m.

SCMPD marine units have been with the Dammit after it broke loose from its moorings and drifted to the docks near Beauliu Road on the Vernon River. Residents helped to secure the Dammit so other boats and docks would not be damaged. The marine unit then towed the Dammit to Crooked Creek, where it could do no damage until the owner was established.

Authorities have not been able to establish who owns the boat because of the deaths of the couple shown as the registered owners. The bank with a loan on the boat sold it to another company. That company has since filled for bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, police and Coast Guard personnel were called to Crooked Creek for a complaint that the Dammit had drifted aground and was listing to one side. Authorities found that someone had removed the stern anchor, allowing the boat to drift ashore. The decision was then made to move the boat to the shoreline of county-owned property in Turner's Creek.

On Wednesday, TowBoatUS crews were in the processes of pumping out water in the Dammit to allow the move when the boat suddenly took on additional water and capsized the salvage boat. The process to more the boat resumed Thursday morning.

The Dammit and Po Boy II, another boat of the same owner, have been issues for boaters, residents and authorities since March 2010.

The boats were reported adrift in the Vernon River and hazardous in March 2011. The boats became issues again in March, October and November, 2011, and February 2012. More complaints that the Dammit was adrift again and not displaying lights at night were made in May. Police have since affixed lights to the Dammit. One of the lights was destroyed during Wednesday's incident. Cases are pending in State Court of Chatham County.

Sgt. Danny Davis of the SCMPD Marie Patrol said abandoned boats such as this create several dangers for the public and property owners. The boats and parts from them can become obstacles for other boaters as they continue to disintegrate.

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