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Coast Guard says it can’t remove platform in Cape Fear River

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The Coast Guard says it cannot remove, mark or light an old quarantine platform in the Cape Fear River near Southport where a woman died in a boat accident last year.

In a letter to Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-7th District), Rear Adm. Steven Poulin, the Coast Guard’s Director of Government and Public Affairs, says the structure, built in 1895, is 165 yards outside the boundaries of the river’s marked navigable channel.

“Since the obstruction is outside of the marked navigable channel, it is also beyond the Coast Guard’s purview to remove,” Rear Adm. Poulin wrote. “However, should the State of North Carolina or other public or private entity, including the owner, decide to pursue marking or removing the structure, the Coast Guard would be available to provide technical assistance as necessary.”

It was not clear in the letter who may own the platform.

Poulin’s letter said there are no Coast Guard, state or local records that document a case of a boat hitting the platform before the accident that killed Barbara Pierce of Wilmington on Aug. 4, 2012.

“Finding a solution that protects the safety of boaters while also recognizing the historical significance of this site is still the goal,” McIntyre said in a statement, “and we stand ready to work with the state and any others to achieve this.”


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