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Gov't mulls law change to seize ‘abandoned’ marine vessels

...to cost between $6,000 & $10,000 to remove one-Mr Ronald F. Smith-Berkeley
MNRL's Permanent Secretary, Mr Ronald Smith-Berkeley. Photo: GIS
Boats piled high in the VI after Hurricane Irma. Photo: teleSUR
Boats piled high in the VI after Hurricane Irma. Photo: teleSUR
 A rough estimate for the removal of a vessel is between $6,000 and $10,000 each. Internet Source
A rough estimate for the removal of a vessel is between $6,000 and $10,000 each. Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The Virgin Islands (VI) government is actively considering amendments to the Disaster Management Act, to legally seize and take possession of marine vessels that are left abandoned across the Territory.

The situation came to the fore in wake of the destruction left by hurricanes, Irma and Maria in 2017, that left the VI—considered the sailing capital of the world—with hundreds of yachts and other type marine vessels, abandoned and strewn across the Territory.

The matter recently engaged the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee, when that Constitutional body examined the VI’s draft estimates, for 2018, for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour (MNRL).

Receiver of Wrecks

MNRL’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Ronald F. Smith-Berkeley, told the Committee, he has met with the Territory’s Attorney General, Honourable Baba Aziz, to go through the necessary legislation to allow the ‘Receiver of Wrecks’ to take possession of the abandoned vessels, “should the situation present itself.”

The amendments being mulled over, is to give the receiver of wrecks, legal authority to take possession of the abandoned vessels, he said.

Mr Smith-Berkeley informed the committee that a rough estimate for the removal of a vessel is between $6,000 and $10,000 each.

As such, MNRL is seeking grant money, in order for the vessels to be removed.  

He said, the government agency is already in preliminary stage of the ongoing environmental cleanup, which itself has large cost implications, and that there are approximately 200 vessels that may have been left abandoned across the Territory.

Additional cleanup costs highlighted by Mr Smith-Berkeley—that lends credence to the proposal—related to the levels of debris still on the marine floor in the Territory at various areas, including in about eight, ‘tourism hot spots.’

Additionally, the dredging of the Sea Cows Bay Harbour alone would cost $1.5 million, according to Mr Smith- Berkeley, and that the other costs are yet to be factored in.

 

 

 

4 Responses to “Gov't mulls law change to seize ‘abandoned’ marine vessels ”

  • Bout Time (08/06/2018, 12:01) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    we did something...let’s do a thorough clean up and recoup some of the cost back with the proper amendments. I for this.
  • sad (08/06/2018, 14:59) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    THESE BOATS HAD OWNERS BEFORE THE HURRICANES WHAT HAPPEN TO THEM DID THE HURRICANES KILL THEM. OR THEY TAKE THE GOVERNMENT FOR A BIG RIDE. THIS IS TOO MUCH BURDEN ON A BROKE GOVERNMENT.
    ..
  • biker (08/06/2018, 17:12) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Please just amend the law and get on with removing all these eyesore derelict vessels.

    Why is government spending $1.5 million to dredge Sea Cows Bay. It's a Bay not a Harbour?
  • NezRez (08/06/2018, 23:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Government should put the boats up for auction, and the new owners will have to remove them. Government does not have the money to remove all these boats.


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