Shrimp boat saved but captain's future uncertain

MOUNTPLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Fire crews and two pollution response teams from theU.S. Coast Guard were called out to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant early Tuesdaymorning.

They, along with the help of a local shrimper, were able to usewater pumps to keep the Mrs. Judy Too above water. The boat is docked behindthe Wreck restaurant.

Itwas around 11:30 p.m. Monday night when local Shrimper Tommy Edwards said hereceived a phone call with news no shrimper wants to hear: his boat wassinking.

"Youdon't want to believe it," said Capt. Tommy Edwards. "Then you gethere and realize there is a lot of truth to it."

CharlestonCounty Consolidated Dispatch says the initial call came in as a shrimp boat indistress just after midnight. The emergency teams were called to MagwoodMarine, Inc.

The boat had taken on a heavy amount of water before the pumpswere turned on. One witness said the Mrs. Judy Too was riding really low,especially around the stern.

North Charleston fire crews and{}Mount Pleasant fire crewsalso responded.

Captain Rocky Magwood is still trying to recover after watchinghis shrimp boat, the Lady Eva, partially sink in Shem Creek in December. Thecommunity has since held a fundraiser to help Magwood.

Magwood was on scene and even helped the Mrs. Judy Too with one ofhis own pumps.

The boat appeared to be in stable condition, according to Edwards.According to officials with the nonprofit group Shem Creek Fisheries, the leakwas located under the fuel tank and divers have not been able to seal it.{}

The motor was underwater and needs to be drained. Edwards said ifthe motor dies, so does his shrimping career. He estimated it would takebetween 7 to 10 thousand dollars to fix the engine.

Thisisn't the first time a boat began sinking at Shem Creek. This past Decemberwell-known local Shrimper Rocky Magwood's boat partially sunk, and was declareda total wreck.

Shem Creek Shrimpers have been facing many difficulties lately.

Last shrimp season wasn't a good season for most local Shrimpers,and the closing of Wando Shrimp Company this past Saturday didn't make thingsany better.

Now that Edwards' boat partially sank, many Shrimpers feel as ifthey are the last of a dying breed.

"There used to be a time where there were 60 to 80 shrimp boatsout there," said Rocky Magwood, who brought Edwards a water pump to helpget his boat back above water. "Now if you look out there you barely seeten."

Those who helped rescue Edwards' boat say the area that sufferedthe most damage was the engine room.

"It was about six-feet deep in the engine room over both ofthe motors," said Richard Petit, a local shrimper.

Edwards says repairing the motor won't be cheap. {}

"Seven-to-ten thousand and we can be back in business," saidEdwards.

That's only if the engine can even be repaired.

"I got to get down there and get all this water out of myengine and hope my engine is not messed up. If the engine is gone, I'mgone," said Edwards.

Shem Creek Fisheries{}is preparing to host a fundraiser tohelp Tommy Edwards with repairs to the Mrs. Judy Too.

In the meantime, the non-profit is accepting all donations payableto Shem Creek Fisheries, 202 Freeman Street Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464, they havealso set up an online account which can be found on their{}Facebookpage, or you can call Grace Edwards at (843) 446-7942.

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