Crews accelerate vessel salvage operations in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

A sailboat wrecked in Hurricane Maria is removed by crane from the shoreline, through the Hurricane Maria ESF-10 Puerto Rico response, Las Croabas, Puerto Rico, Dec. 13, 2017. The ESF-10 is offering no-cost options for removing vessels stranded by Hurricane Maria; affected boat owners are asked to call the Vessel Owner Outreach Hotline at (786) 521-3900. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando)

A sailboat wrecked in Hurricane Maria is removed by crane from the shoreline, through the Hurricane Maria ESF-10 Puerto Rico response, Las Croabas, Puerto Rico, Dec. 13, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando)

SAN JUAN – Crews from Hurricane Maria ESF-10 Puerto Rico added to the count of recovered vessels today while working in Las Croabas.

Teams lifted two sunken boats by crane barge and refloated two others using inflatable air bags. The vessels will be either returned to identified owners at no cost, or processed for disposal.

As of today, response teams have identified 363 impacted vessels, 155 of which have since been removed. Teams have made contact with 181 owners, and responded to 33 pollution reports. Pollution prevention specialists have dewatered more than 4,500 gallons of oily water mixture and collected 37 drums of oily debris from vessels.

Operations are expected to expand along Puerto Rico’s east coast, where the team has pinpointed 42 damaged vessels – roughly 20 percent of all identified targets on the island.

Maria ESF-10 Puerto Rico is removing damaged vessels, which pose pollution and environmental threats, at no cost or penalty to the vessel owners. Under the direction of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the goal is to remove each vessel while mitigating public health risk, preserving native habitat, and increasing the Commonwealth’s ability to reconstitute.

Vessel owners in need of assistance are asked to call the Hurricane Maria Vessel Hotline at (786) 521-3900 to request free support from the unified command to remove a vessel, report a vessel removal plan, or report a vessel that has already been removed.The DNR and the U.S. Coast Guard in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Control Board, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service stood up the ESF-10 command post in Puerto Rico Sept. 27, 2017, after Hurricane Maria struck the island on Sept. 19.

For photos and video of the Hurricane Maria response visit our Hurricane Maria Flickr Album.

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