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The Lady Vanishes
Once Sunken Trawler Lady Barbara Towed From Oriental Harbor
February 18, 2013
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month after the Lady Barbara sank at the dockside of Garland Fulcher Seafood, and spilled oils and fuels on to Oriental’s harbor, she was towed away toward Adams Creek on Sunday afternoon.

Let the towing begin. At left, the trawler, Lady Barbara with a line at her bow tied to the aft of her sister ship, Miss Melissa. A moment later, the Miss Melissa pulled the Lady Barbara in to the harbor’s channel and out past the breakwater on their way to Jarrett Bay on Adams Creek.

Towing the Lady Barbara was her sister ship, the Miss Melissa, both of which have sat at dockside on the Oriental harbor since last summer. The boats are owned by Ralph Taylor of Carteret County — the boats’ port of call is Marshallberg — and Taylor was on hand Sunday as a crew of four maneuvered the boats for the departure from Oriental.

Ralph Taylor built and owns the two trawlers. He says he plans to coat the Lady Barbara’s wooden hull in epoxy so that she can go fishing again. While the boats spent the past half year tied up in Oriental, they technically have Marshallberg – in Carteret County – as their port of call.
Lady Barbara’s Owner: Repairs Planned

The immediate destination was to be Jarrett Bay boatyard on Adams Creek, and then to an adjacent lot where, Ralph Taylor told TownDock.net, he plans to repair the Lady Barbara. He mentioned epoxying the wooden hull. Paint is also part of the plan, making the boat so that, as he put it, “you wouldn’t even recognize her.”

Aft on the Lady Barbara. Ralph Taylor says he thinks the sinking last month happened because a repair made to the transom didn’t work.
Departure A While In Coming

The Lady Barbara sank in mid-January and her continued presence at the Garland Fulcher Seafood docks had raised questions in town about when, if ever, the poorly maintained boat would be gone. Dock owner Sherrill Styron said that he had been asking the Taylor family to remove both of their boats since last August. The family arrived in Oriental the day after the sinking.

It wasn’t the actual sinking that led to some public concern but the result of that sinking. When the Lady Barbara went down, fuels and oils and lubricants that had previously been contained in her hull escaped into the waters of Oriental’s harbor. They also migrated for two days to Green and Smith Creeks.

Before the Lady Barbara was towed away, the crew went through a few maneuvers for an hour and a half. First, they jockeyed the Miss Melissa to be next to the Lady Barbara…
At one point, they had the once-sunken trawler lashed alongside the Miss Melissa.

Some of the pollutants formed a pink slurry which sloshed on the harbor surface, others were a rainbow sheen that spread to the small creeks off of Greens Creek, a nursery for shrimp and other life forms.

What To Do To Prevent Spills In Future

It is not known yet what fine, if any, the Coast Guard plans to apply in the Lady Barbara’s sinking. The Coast Guard says its top fine for a spill is $3,000. The state of NC typically leaves enforcement for fuel spills to the Coast Guard; those that result from sinkings, says one state official, are viewed as “acts of God.” As a result, no state action is apparently being taken in the sinking of and spillage from the Lady Barbara.

One resident of Oriental, Bill Hines, has suggested the community purchase a boom for approximately $3,600 so that if another boat looks as if it might sink, the protective boom could be deployed to contain the pollutants on board. He made that suggestion at an Oriental Town Board meeting in early February but no action has yet been taken on that.

More photos ahead from the chilly afternoon of February 17 when the Lady Barbara was towed from Oriental’s harbor:

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Posted Monday February 18, 2013 by Melinda Penkava

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