MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — After sitting anchored in the same spot of the Manatee River for more than a decade, the rusting steel freighter named Caroline C is on her way to the scrapyard.

The price tag on the one-day removal is roughly $135,000. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected to reimburse the county for 75 percent of the cost after removal is complete.

In late September, the 170-ton freighter sunk to the bottom of the Manatee River, releasing residual fuel and oil into the water.

Sea Tow was able to patch the ship's worn hull to keep it afloat while the county worked out plans for the removal process.

“We stepped in because the environmental and safety risks were just too great,” said Alan Lai Hipp, Environmental Program Manager for Manatee County.  

Caroline C has been a beloved icon for many boaters in the area and was once used for humanitarian efforts. Lai Hipp said he thinks the current owner had the same intentions but didn't have the financial backing to do so.

He said the boat was an environmental and navigational hazard so the county had to intervene and move forward with removal plans.

Thursday's removal was a complicated one. After the anchors were pulled from the water, a floating dock was used to lift the steel freighter which will then be guided back to Tampa where it will be scrapped.

"She's gone," said Harry Blenker, owner of Blenker Boatworks. "That's a landmark. It's gonna be sad."