Process continues for removal of vessels displaced in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria

U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Lee Trevino (second from right) reviews the vessel identification process to Nilda Jiminez (center in group), Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Incident Commander for Maria ESF-10 PR, before affixing a sticker to an impacted vessel in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Oct. 28 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie

U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Lee Trevino (second from right) reviews the vessel identification process to Nilda Jiminez (center in group), Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Incident Commander for Maria ESF-10 PR, before affixing a sticker to an impacted vessel in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Oct. 28 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie

SAN JUAN – In an effort to conserve the marine ecosystems, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the U.S. Coast Guard established a protocol to remove vessels displaced because of the devastation left behind after the passing of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

The Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Tania Vazquez Rivera, explained Friday, to date, the federal government has identified more than 260 vessels around the island that were displaced from their mooring or anchorage due to the storm.

“These boats have been a problem for a long time and this atmospheric phenomenon aggravates the situation. By removing them, with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard, we give the marine ecosystems a chance to recover. If we do not, the debris from the boats will physically impact organisms and ecosystems, such as corals and marine vegetation. We will continue working together to achieve the cleanliness of our coastal waters,” said Rivera.

The secretary noted that agency technicians will begin to contact boat owners to offer assistance. Part of the assistance being offered includes the removal of dangerous substances (fuel, chemicals, etc.), or the owner, if they choose, can retain or dispose of the ship.

“It is important that we create awareness of this problem that affects us so much. An aground vessel can destroy, in a matter of minutes, what has taken years to develop,” stressed Rivera when referring to the role the coral reefs play as natural barriers against tidal waves.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.