Shrimp boat saved but captain's future uncertain - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Shrimp boat saved but captain's future uncertain

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(Stefanie Bainum/WCIV) (Stefanie Bainum/WCIV)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Fire crews and two pollution response teams from the U.S. Coast Guard were called out to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant early Tuesday morning.

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

It was around 11:30 p.m. Monday night when local Shrimper Tommy Edwards said he received a phone call with news no shrimper wants to hear: his boat was sinking.

"You don't want to believe it," said Capt. Tommy Edwards. "Then you get here and realize there is a lot of truth to it."

Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch says the initial call came in as a shrimp boat in distress just after midnight. The emergency teams were called to Magwood Marine, Inc.

The boat had taken on a heavy amount of water before the pumps were 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 crews also responded.

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

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

The boat appeared to be in stable condition, according to Edwards. According to officials with the nonprofit group Shem Creek Fisheries, the leak was 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 if the motor dies, so does his shrimping career. He estimated it would take between 7 to 10 thousand dollars to fix the engine.

This isn't the first time a boat began sinking at Shem Creek. This past December well-known local Shrimper Rocky Magwood's boat partially sunk, and was declared a 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 things any better.

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

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

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

"It was about six-feet deep in the engine room over both of the 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," said Edwards.

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

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

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

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

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