Lady Eva sinks to bottom of Shem Creek

  • Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Lady Eva, berthed at Wando Shrimp Company, is owned by Rocky Magwood. PHOTO PROVIDED

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The Lady Eva is not just a shrimp boat, it’s a livelihood. It’s a way of life for Rocky Magwood.

But she began sinking Wednesday morning, right at her berth in Shem Creek. Docked at the Wando Shrimping Company, Magwood’s boat is a beloved vessel he’s owned for the last two years.

At about 1 a.m. Dec. 18 he got a call from a man staying on the boat that something was wrong. He rushed to the dock, only to find her sinking. High tide was just around the corner, set for 8:15 a.m.

A frantic call to 911 produced the Coast Guard who would not bring with them any pumps. Coast Guard is not in the business of salavage and had to follow protocol.

A call to Sea Tow resulted in tow pumps but by the time they arrived, Magwood said it was too late.

Two more pumps were brought in by Boat US, and crews and well wishers spent the early morning hours trying to get the Lady Eva afloat.

Magwood said the Coast Guard has federalized the boat and taken it into their possession. He said without the ability to repair the engines and other work needed to haul her, they had no other choice.

He was looking at costs of over $20,000.

The Coast Guard hired Moran Environmental to remove fuel and any other remaining hazardous substances from the Lady Eva. The Coast Guard did not observe any significant pollution.

They can use money from the National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to hire contractors for cleanup operations when necessary.

Magwood said he has been picking oysters to make money to pay his back fuel bills and planned to save enough money to have her hauled in the spring. “This is a no-win situation because I should have hauled her sooner, but I just didn’t have the money.”

Magwood stood on her deck as The Lady Eva sank to the floor of Shem Creek, standing in freezing water.

“I just stood there, not actually believing what was happening.”

Coast Guard officials monitored the situation for possible pollution.

Fellow shrimpers and friends of Magwood gathered on the dock Wednesday waiting on the 2 p.m. low tide. Numerous pumps had been brought to the dock at that point in hopes the effort would not be fruitless. And while they were able to get her afloat, their hopes were soon dashed.

But Magwood said his grandfather’s old boat is possibly for sale and he will look into that. In the meantime he will keep oystering to bring in needed money.

“The bright side is that this nightmare is over,” he said. “I haven;t had more than six hours of sleep.”

Shem Creek Fisheries will hold a fundraiser this Sunday for Rocky Magwood 12-22-13 1:30 - 4pm.

Fresh Trigger Fish Sliders donated by Abundant Seafood, Lowcountry Chicken Bog served by Charleston Bay Gourmet .

The food are coming together are free. Donations are requested.

118 Royal Ave. Mt. Mount Pleasant Old village, next to the basketball court and H&R Sweet Shop.

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