Local News

Shrimp Boat Sunk by Hurricane Harvey Re-Floated in Aransas Pass

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The Texas General Land Office announced that the fishing vessel “R&R” is floating once again after spending a month at the bottom of Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass, Texas, after being damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The 65-foot, 94-ton shrimp boat was refloated on October 6, after seven days of work overseen by the Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office (GLO). Approximately 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel and other pollutants were removed before de-watering the vessel.

Protecting People From Environmental Hazards 

shrimp boat

Photo: Facebook/txglo

“We are committed to working with and supporting the state of Texas to safely remove the oil and hazardous substance pollution threats from the maritime environment,” said Commander Tedd Hutley, incident commander of the Hurricane Harvey ESF-10 response. “Our goal is to protect people and the environment and help impacted communities get back to normal.”

The sunken vessels, “R&R” and “Dragon’s Den,” were identified as a priority by the GLO due to the risk to the environment and maritime traffic. The boats are two of nearly 200 boats, both commercial and recreational, that are targeted for removal as part of the GLO’s vessel removal program.

“At the GLO, our greatest priority is helping our fellow Texans recover from Hurricane Harvey,” said Commissioner George P. Bush. “Removing displaced and sunken vessels from our coastal waterways helps restore our coastal waters and keep folks safe.

Tethered and Tangled Boats

Sunken shrimp boat

Photo: Flickr/Texas Sea Grant

Dive teams cut away the tangled masts and riggings of the two vessels on the seafloor before any work could be done, suggesting strong thrashing occurred between the vessels before sinking said Kerry Walsh, project manager with contracted company Global Diving and Salvage. When the storm hit the boats were tied up side-by-side at the dock and ultimately broke away from the concrete seawall when the cleats broke from the strong hurricane winds.

“I think they just sunk themselves,” said Walsh. “Together and tangled up, they put themselves in a predicament and down-flooded. Right now, after pumping out the “R&R”, she’s floating and whatever damage that occurred was topside.”

To see a video of the re-floating of the shrimp boat on the Facebook page of the Texas General Land Office, go here.