An eight-day saga in the Outer Banks of North Carolina may soon end on the Chesapeake Bay.
The 78-foot-long shrimp trawler Bald Eagle II was beached at a precarious angle in Southern Shores, near Duck, NC. The fishing boat became decommissioned on December 7 and harsh conditions pushed it onto the beach. The coast guard was able to rescue the four commercial fishermen on board by a helicopter.
“The water temperature near Southern Shores is currently 56 degrees, which is dangerous if these four men had not been prepared,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Hall, operations unit controller. for the North Carolina area. “Fortunately, these men were wearing survival suits to prevent hypothermia when our rescue helicopter arrived.”
The USCG released video of the crashing waves as its crew airlifted the fishermen. Take a look below:
The Coast Guard used the successful rescue as a reminder, “Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature!” “
With the men safe and without injury to speak of, the removal of the shrimp trawler itself was more problematic. Bald Eagle II is owned and operated by Ocean Trawlers Inc., an American company that operated in the North Carolina shrimp fishery. Ocean Trawlers worked with the Coast Guard to remove fuel and hazardous substances from the vessel to mitigate any environmental risk. Contractors removed more than 6,500 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,000 gallons of oily water mixture, according to the USCG.
Floating the ship again was tricky as it has to be done at high tide. Witnesses report that excavators attempted to dig the hull out of the sand to refloat it, but these attempts were unsuccessful. A commercial tug from a salvage company in Charleston, South Carolina, is about to tow the trawler off the beach. Ocean Trawlers tells Bay Bulletin this is expected to occur on Wednesday when more favorable tidal conditions are forecast.
Then, according to the company, it will remedy any impact on the beach where the vessel is currently stranded after towing operations are complete.
Bald Eagle II will be towed to Hampton, Virginia for repairs.
-Meg Walburn Viviano