UPDATED: Ocean Pursuit shipwreck removed from Bodie Island Spit

Nearly all traces of the Ocean Pursuit have been removed from the beach on Nov. 15, 2021. [courtesy Cape Hatteras National Seashore]

Just three weeks after work started, the remains of a shipwrecked scallop trawler that has become something of a tourist attraction on the Outer Banks has been removed from the northern shore of Oregon Inlet.

The Ocean Pursuit ran aground into the beach in March 2020 a half-mile south of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Ramp 4 on what’s known as the Bodie Island Spit.

“The contractor finished removing the vessel from the beach and started to remove their heavy equipment over the weekend,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina public affairs specialist Michael Barber.

“Visitors can expect the small project area to be closed for another week so the contractor can ensure that all debris is removed and to restore the natural shape and slope to match the surrounding beach,” Barber said.

It only took about a week for crews from Cape Dredging, Inc. of Buxton to excavate sand that had buried much of the ship and start cutting apart the ship and hauling it off for scrap.

In the days after the vessel ran aground, its owners told the Coast Guard and National Park Service they were working on a plan to remove it.

Cape Dredging started the $295,000 project the last week of October to remove the abandoned vessel, which is expected to take approximately 30 days.

“The National Park Service is continuing our attempts to recover costs associated with the removal of the derelict vessel from its registered owner,” said David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina. “This process has taken longer than expected, so Cape Hatteras National Seashore determined it was necessary to use a combination of fund sources to remove the vessel before it potentially becomes more expensive to remove later and to minimize impacts to the natural environment.

Cape Dredging, Inc. will perform the following tasks to remove the vessel:

  • Remove existing sand that has accumulated around the vessel
  • Remove deck structures
  • Remove all sand and water from compartments under deck surface
  • Cut vessel into smaller, manageable pieces and transport these pieces onto a tractor trailer for removal to appropriate disposal or recycling site
  • Restore the natural shape and slope to match surrounding beach
A sign explains what’s happening with the removal of the Ocean Pursuit. [Sam Walker photo]