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January 31, 2013
A negligently maintained boat sank in our harbor, after the owner had been asked many times to remove it.
The owner was slow to respond, slow to raise the sunken vessel, and slow to remove it. Petroleum products and other toxic materials escaped into the water.
The pollution migrated into creeks on which homes and farms are located. This kind of spill does damage to underwater wildlife such as shrimp, oysters, crabs, and other marine creatures. There are other bad consequences as well.
The dock owner repeatedly asked the boat owner to move it, and we hope he will share with authorities what he observed and the basis for his concern.
Public and private agencies:
The Coast Guard spokesperson says that maybe the boat owner will be fined $3,000.
A state employee told me that there is a memorandum of understanding between the State and the Coast Guard that gives the Coast Guard exclusive enforcement authority east of Hwy. 17. Yes, she said, that is true even for Smith Creek, which was polluted. (We live on upper Smith Creek and have not been counting on Coast Guard protection up here in the shallows, instead relying on the state and local governments.) I asked what will be done to remedy the harm. She said the Coast Guard is the one who will take care of it, if anybody will.
The state employee said that the Pamlico County Emergency Services is talking to the Coast Guard, but a call to County offices has not yet been returned.
Also, Neuse Riverkeepers Lower Neuse Representative has not returned a telephone call.
Where are our public officials of the Town and County? They live here. They can see the damage. Nobody disputes the basic facts.
Have any Town or County elected leaders asked themselves why a large-scale spill such as the BP Gulf disaster brings all sorts of remedies, and prompt action to assess responsibility, while on the other hand nothing is being done about our “little” problem? The BP disaster got immediate attention in part because public officials stepped up, exercised their power, and demanded action from state and federal authorities.
Maybe some local lawyer will consult the lawbooks and invite plaintiffs to join a class action, if the public authorities won’t do their job.
To the Editor:
Since my last letter, little has been done to correct this sinking and hemorrhaging vessel in the harbor. It has polluted the creeks. In the town’s best interest I believe Mr Ralph Taylor should remove the foul carcass immediately before any more damage is done.
I also believe the Town should levy fines every day the remains are in the harbor, to help cover the costs of cleaning up Ralph’s mess.
The Coast Guard is limited as far as fines, but is the Town of Oriental?
Mr Styron, a question for you, do you have a running vessel that can be used at Mr Taylor’s expense to remove the leaky carcass from our harbor, and allow it to pollute Mr Taylor’s backyard and not ours/ yours? This would be the right thing to do.
Are there no regulations in place for gross polluters and those who enable them? Do we need zoning on the docks? Do we need a vessel manager? Obviously we need something or Mr. Taylor’s abandoned vessel would not have sunk and polluted the harbor. Perhaps something like “any vessel not tended every 14 days is subject to removal at owners expense” whether or not on private property. This is our town, our money district.
Would you bring your yacht to Oriental to enjoy the stench of diesel and the view of a sinking vessel, spewing toxins into the harbor? I think not. Do something. Remove the rotting carcass. It can only get worse. You will need 1 running vessel, 1 fat rope. I do not think this is hard.
Now, Mr. Ralph, take away Miss Barbara Valdez to your back yard.
Thank you for your expected co-operation,
Chairman of the Get Your Polluting Carcass Out of Oriental Harbor Immediately Committee
To The Editor:
Concerning the boat that sank in the harbor, how is it that a boat that has engine problems was allowed to stay in the harbor for an extended period? Obviously this vessel is neglected or would be running … and floating.
Writings say the owner wanted to take it back home but didn’t. Why?? My opinion, the owner abandoned the vessel because of the engine failure and allowed it to sink in and pollute our harbor.
Hopefully the Coast Guard will realize this and attach fines as needed. In addition it would benefit the town if Mr. Styron would police his dock space, in which case this would have never happened.
I’m appalled that WE let this happen.
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