Officials: Bonnie preps make Pass Harbor more vulnerable to oil - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Officials: Bonnie preps make Pass Harbor more vulnerable to oil

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - As we wait to see if Bonnie's winds will push oil our way, leaders in one coast city said they can only hope for the best. Pass Christian's harbor master said some of the preparations made to protect the harbor in the storm also make the harbor more vulnerable to oil seeping in. Some boat owners showed up at the Pass Christian harbor Saturday morning not happy about being made to move their boats.

"A lot of us here are sail boat owners, so we've moving along at five or six knots," said Warren Mueller. "It's about at 15 nautical mile journey up to Discovery Bay, so it's a three or four hour trip and rather not do it if we don't think it's necessary. "

Around 9:00 a.m., Fire Chief Dwight Gordon made an announcement.

Gordon said, "We're going to go ahead and cancel the evacuation."

The cancellation of the mandatory evacuation saved boat owners a lot work not the harbor staff who have to move vehicles and equipment as part of the storm preparation plan. Officials said this time around, there's extra work.

"My guys have been working for three days evacuating everything, getting it out," said Harbor Master Willie Davis. "We have all the extra boom and that stuff we have to get out of here now."

The harbor master said less boom is less protection the harbor has from oil in the Gulf.

Davis said, "When they talk about the oil, we have to protect the harbor. But you look inside our harbor, we have some marsh land that's in our harbor. We have to protect that and plus we try to protect these people's boats. "

Davis says no one will know how the boats and marsh will fare until Bonnie has come and gone.

"Once this storm is over and the high tide, we've got to put it right back in place. Hopefully this storm doesn't push anything in here or stir anything else up. So now we have to worry about that," said Davis. "Because being the tide is not going to be as high as they predicted, hopefully, we'll be safe."

Officials said about 400 boats dock at the Pass Christian Harbor. Some owners went ahead and moved their boats as a precaution.

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