This barge for Holcim Cement ran aground in the harbor at Georgetown on Friday. Harbor pilot Edwin Jayroe said it shows the need for dredging to be done at the Port of Georgetown.
Edwin Jayroe, head harbor pilot at the Port of Georgetown, saw the smoke from a tug being used to free the barge and went out to take a picture.
The tug had a load of cement from Holcim Cement in Georgetown and was on its way to New England, Jayroe said, when it ran aground.
"It went out in a narrow place," Jayroe said.
"I got it off, but it just points out that even the cement business could be in trouble if we don't get the port dredged."
He estimated the water depth at the point just off Morgan Park in Georgetown was about 16 or 17 feet. Tide was a little low and the barge was likely loaded for the normal 19-foot depth of most of the channel.
"We're doing about 19-foot draft on ships."
The target depth for the Port of Georgetown and the federal channel through Winyah Bay to the Atlantic Ocean is 27 feet.
Break-bulk cargo volume at the Port of Georgetown is up this year over last year, and reached double last year's volume. Annual volume for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was 548,919 tons. The previous year it was 276,570 tons.
Metglas of Conway is scheduled to have its first cargo of steel billets on or about Monday, Nov. 5.
That's a hopeful catalyst for the Port of Georgetown, Dodd Smith of Metglas said at an announcement ceremony in early October.
When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be picking their choice for president, many local offices and deciding on a state constitutional amendment and a local sales tax referendum.
Proponents of the one percent sales tax say that the $5.5 million earmarked for dredging will be a plus. Many opponents of the referendum say they favor port dredging, but oppose the penny sales tax.
If the penny sales tax is approved, Georgetown County officials estimate it will generate about $40 million in revenue over its eight-year lifespan.
Opponents say now is not the time for a vote to raise taxes.
Polls will be open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Watch the Georgetown Times Web site Tuesday night and Wednesday as we report the outcome of local elections.
By Tommy Howard