Ocean Springs harbor reopens to boat traffic - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs harbor reopens to boat traffic


By Patrice Clark – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Jackson County Small Craft Harbor in Ocean Springs is busy with boat traffic again. The harbor master reopened the area after temporarily shutting it down due to the threat of oil. Businesses and boat owners say the oil spill and shutdown are hurting their pockets. 

Mark Compton was busy cleaning his pride and joy "Ms. Biggy" at the harbor Monday. The boat is for daily fishing tours, but Compton said his business has sunk by 80 percent. He blames the oil spill threat and the temporary harbor shutdown. 

"I am scared to death I am going to lose everything, especially if the oil makes its way here," Compton said. 

Kenny Dinero feels his pain. The businessman said his marine mart hasn't been reeling in customers lately. 

"We only have X amount of months out of the year to make money," Dinero said. 

The harbor boomed off and closed one week ago. Harbor Master Lesley Hamm said after talking to state and emergency management officials, the protective equipment was moved and the waterway reopened this week. 

"We have commercial fisherman that work in and out our facility and we did not want to restrict them from doing their job.  There was no present or immediate danger of the oil,"  Hamm said. 

The boom is still in the water, but it has just been pushed to the side. The harbor is waiting on word if the oil spill will flow this way. 

"They are placed in a way that [we can] stretch them back out, close the harbor if we need to," Hamm said. 

Compton and Dinero are hoping this reopening will energize people to start fishing and spending again, but they admit they just don't know what the future holds.

"That is the scary part," Compton said.

Hamm said although the harbor has opened, she encourages all boaters to watch out for booms.  

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