HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WECT) - A shrimp boat owner has until Friday to remove the vessel which has been stuck on the Holden Beach shore since last week.
According to a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard, if the boat, called Big Earl, has not been removed by 9 a.m., contractors will be hired to drain fluids and remove any hazardous materials from the boat. The owner will be billed for the work.
The spokesperson said the Coast Guard does not have the legal authority to remove the boat or have it removed. The agency is obligated to uphold public safety and will continue to work with local police to keep the boat isolated.
State officials do have the option of charging the owner with felony littering, which is punishable by a fine of up to $300 and community service to remove the litter.
Earlier this week, about 60 people tried to help get Big Earl unstuck from the sand by tying ropes around the boat and rocking it back and forth. An excavator was also brought in try and dig around the ship in hopes of freeing it, but very little progress was made.
The Coast Guard spokesperson said a bulldozer and other boats are at the scene Wednesday trying to help the owner.