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Shrimp boat helps SC ports prepare for megaships

Bruce Smith, Associated Press

MCCLELLANVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- A shrimp boat is being used to help prepare Charleston Harbor for a new generation of massive container ships.

Researchers hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been on the water in recent weeks on a shrimp boat out of McClellanville running tests as part of studies for a planned $300 million deepening of the shipping channel.

Researchers are using wash probes - concentrated jets of water sent down a pipe - checking the depth of the solid material below the mud and silt at the harbor bottom.

They're using a shrimp boat because it's bigger and steadier, allowing crews to stay on the water longer than using small boats. Researchers will send down around 200 probes and should finish next week.