NPS Announces Removal of Displaced Vessels from Hurricane Hole, Leinster Bay, and Hassel Island

0
1485

Virgin Islands National Park announces the removal of approximately 50 displaced vessels from Hurricane Hole, Leinster Bay, Mary Creek and Hassel Island beginning August 7, 2018.

This project will involve the U.S. Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) program and their contractor who will use barges, cranes, and other equipment to remove vessels sunk or washed aground within the park. Vessels will be transported via barge to a salvage facility in the mainland US for disposal. Because of hazardous conditions associated with the use of cranes and barges and for the safety of personnel working in park and monument waters, portions of Hurricane Hole, Leinster Bay, Mary Creek, and the waters surrounding Hassel Island will be closed to park visitors and boat traffic while operations are occurring.

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, over 90 vessels either washed aground or sunk in waters surrounding Virgin Islands National Park; however, a large number of these vessels have been removed by vessel owners. Remaining vessels create a hazard to boaters and swimmers, can leak fuel, sewage, or other substances, and can damage reefs and seagrass, mangroves, and shorelines. “I am pleased that the Navy is able to assist Virgin Islands National Park by removing these vessels from park waters and helping protect park resources,” said acting Superintendent Rick Gupman. “We recognize the presence of these vessels is a concern to island residents and visitors, especially for those that choose to use Hurricane Hole as a storm refuge.” Funding for the vessel removal is provided by the National Park Service.

For additional information regarding vessel removal, please contact Christy McManus at (340) 201- 4364 or caribbean_recovery@nps.gov. Updates will be posted on our Storm Refuge Page at https://www.nps.gov/vicr/learn/management/hurricane-hole-storm-refuge.htm.

Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/virginislandsNPS/