Vessel removal operations underway in Salt River Bay

Contractors begin to lift and remove the damaged and sunken vessel Lucky Penny from Salt River Bay, St Croix, Nov. 7, 2017. Crews removed all oil pollutants and other hazardous materials from the vessel in preparation of moving it to an identified holding area where it will be further evaluated for salvage, return to owner or properly disposed of. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Contractors begin to lift and remove the damaged and sunken vessel Lucky Penny from Salt River Bay, St Croix, Nov. 7, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands — The incident command for displaced vessel removal wants to ensure the public that no operations will be conducted and that no vessels will be stored in the Mangrove Bay/Bio Bay area of the Salt River Bay.

The USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources authorized the moving of the vessels to mitigate impacts to environmentally sensitive maritime habitats and natural resources.

“We have some good news for those concerned about potential impact to the ecosystem in Mangrove Bay/Bio Bay, we will not be conducting operations or storing salvaged vessels in that location,” said Cmdr. David Reinhard, Coast Guard Incident Commander. “We understand the importance of this sensitive area to the people of St Croix, and we are happy to let them know that we will be able to accommodate all vessels at the main intermediate holding area in Salt River Bay.”

The Coast Guard hired the National Response Corporation to remove fuel, oil and other hazardous materials from the vessels; while Resolve Marine Group will oversee the salvage and movement of vessels to intermediate holding areas.

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, St. Croix is a unit of the National Park Service, and is jointly managed by Department of Planning and Natural Resources & National Park Service. The park preserves upland watersheds, mangrove forests, coral reefs, estuarine, and marine environments that support threatened and endangered species.

Due to environmental sensitivity in Salt River Bay and Long Reef these removals are conducted at no cost to the vessel owners.

Prior to removal of any displaced vessel within the boundaries of the Caribbean National Parks, vessel owners must contact the National Park Service via email at caribbean_recovery@nps.gov

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