Fishing vessel Sea Angels was refloated Wednesday and towed to Jarrett Bay Boatworks in Beaufort Thursday for repairs. Fishing vessel Lady Deborah initiated the float during high tide Wednesday evening.
The cause of the grounding is currently under investigation by Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.
Stranded fishing vessel Sea Angels has been stuck on a shoal near Brown’s Inlet since Dec. 9, 2019, and, according to the Coast Guard, it will likely be there a few more weeks.
Before the boat can be refloated, an estimated 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel must be removed.
“The response is complicated by weather and sea conditions, as well as the possible presence of unexploded military ordnance in the area surrounding the vessel,” stated a Wednesday news release.
“Precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of all personnel and the public during these operations.”
The vessel has not been further damaged since running aground according to a spokesperson for the Coast Guard.
A contractor began to remove the fuel and other oil this week and is being overseen by a Unified Command consisting of the US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps, NC Emergency Management, Onslow County Emergency Management and the vessel owner.
The vessel’s crew said Sea Angels experienced mechanical problems before running aground. Four crew members were rescued without incident by a Coast Guard air rescue team.
The boat’s situation is complicated by its location. Brown’s Inlet is east of Camp Lejeune and within a live fire training area. A Unified Command set up to monitor the vessel’s removal said unexploded ordnance may be present.
Sea Angels is registered in Beaufort and operated by the Chris and Debbie Fulcher of Oriental.