PANAMA CITY, FL. (WMBB) — The shrimp boat that caught fire and sank in St. Andrews Bay last year is now gone.

On April 10th, 2022 a shrimp boat named Phi Long Hai caught fire. Coast Guard officials determined the boat’s ignition sparked the fire.

The 50-foot boat sank just a few hundred yards off St. Andrews Marina and has been sitting there ever since until earlier this week when salvage crews from B-REX Industries pulled from St. Andrews Bay to the McKenzie Boat Ramp in Southport.

The boat was finally removed Thursday and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Derelict Vessel Program Administrator Philip Horning says, they were responsible for the final action.

“We’ve gone through the criminal case on it. The owner didn’t remove the vessel from the water, so the state has had to step in to remove the danger from the waters,” said Horning.

The owner of the boat has since been charged with a misdemeanor and is responsible for the 65,000 dollar clean-up cost, says Horning.

“if they also don’t repay the costs that the state has to spend to remove their vessel, then they can have their registration privileges for their vehicles and vessels revoked until such time as they pay,” said Horning

The removal was rather quick and the University of Florida I-FAS Bay County Director Scott Jackson says, it was because of the size of the vessel.

“This boat was partially submerged and was a very big challenge. So this one is taking about half a day or so. It also depends on the size of the boat,” said Jackson.

The State has a new program where owners can surrender abandoned boats to the state before they become derelict and if you want to know more about the program you can click here.