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Abandoned boats to be removed

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Island environmental groups have backed an attempt to remove derelict boats scarring Bermuda's shoreline.

Jonathan Starling, executive director with Greenrock, said the clean-up was overdue.

Mr Starling said: “These boats are not just an eyesore but pose an environmental and public-health risk.”

He added: “From a purely physical perspective, they can damage habitats, serving as battering rams against mangroves or scarring sea grass meadows and potentially harming corals.

“When they break up this threat multiplies, as well as the risk of any stowed fishing gear becoming phantom fishing gear, catching fish or entangling corals, turtles or sea birds.”

He added that boats polluted the sea with plastics, heavy metals and oil-related hydrocarbons as they broke up.

Anne Hyde, the executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, said the organisation was “delighted” by the announcement.

Ms Hyde said KBB had been in touch with the Government in the run-up to the America's Cup over the problem of abandoned boats.

She added: “It's been in the works for a while, and I'm really pleased to hear that they're going to go forward with it.”

Ms Hyde said derelict vessels were a “recurring problem”.

She added that trash picked up during beach cleanups was often from decaying boats.

Ms Hyde said: “You name it, it's all coming ashore.”

The Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Marine and Port Services announced yesterday that 17 abandoned boats would be removed in 30 days unless their owners came forward.

The boats are all in the waters off Ferry Reach, Mullet Bay, Coney Island and Mill Creek.

A government spokeswoman said the vessels “are not only unsightly but also present a hazard to other motoring vessels”.

The owners of the boats have not yet been identified.

The spokeswoman said: “Government cannot find any characteristic names or boat registration details on these abandoned and derelict boats.”

She added the boats would be scrapped unless they were moved to an area where the boats did not break the maritime laws of Bermuda.

Owners of the boats can notify the Government and agree to have their craft disposed of free of charge.

Consent forms are available at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' headquarters in the Botanical Gardens or the Department of Marine and Ports Services on East Broadway in Hamilton.

The spokeswoman warned owners: “If you do not respond within 30 days from today, your vessel may be disposed of and if the vessel identity is subsequently determined upon recovery then the costs incurred as a result of said disposal may be payable by you.”

The Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs can dispose of any vessel that has been abandoned and is likely to become an eyesore or a hazard to navigation.

For more information, phone 239-2356

An abandoned boat sits half-submerged in the waters off Ferry Reach, St George's (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Abandoned boats: maps show the location of boats that will soon be scrapped by the Government if unclaimed
Abandoned boats: maps show the location of boats that will soon be scrapped by the Government if unclaimed
Abandoned boats: maps show the location of boats that will soon be scrapped by the Government if unclaimed
Abandoned boats: maps show the location of boats that will soon be scrapped by the Government if unclaimed

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Published February 06, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 06, 2018 at 8:08 am)

Abandoned boats to be removed

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