Hurricane Irma vessel cleanup operations to commence in Miami

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

MIAMI — State and federal responders are scheduled to begin vessel removal operations in Miami-Dade County Thursday as part of ongoing response efforts following Hurricane Irma.

Damaged vessels being removed will be stored at two newly established locations: Watson Island Marina and the Seminole Boat Ramp.

“The FWC along with all of the partner agencies within the Unified Command have safety concerns, both for our responders and the public, as our number one priority,” said Capt. Tom Shipp, on-scene incident commander for the FWC. “While crews work to remove vessels displaced by Hurricane Irma, we ask the public to stay at a safe distance from our recovery teams and storage areas to help keep them out of harm’s way.”

Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members are continuing assessments of vessels affected by Hurricane Irma in Miami-Dade County. Responders are placing Assessment Stickers on damaged vessels requesting the owner contact the Vessel Removal Hotline at 305-985-3744. The Assessment Sticker includes a target number that allows you to track your vessel if it’s moved.

Vessel owners are encouraged to hire a salvage company to recover their vessel in order to provide the safest method possible for the vessel and the environment. The removal of displaced vessels can hasten the recovery and overall resilience of native marine plants and animals. Owners wishing to remove their own vessels are encouraged to visit the following website for guidelines and best practices:

Owners of displaced vessels who lack the resources to have their boat repaired, or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair, may release ownership of their vessel through a waiver provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The waiver process can be initiated by contacting FWC through the Vessel Removal Hotline at 305-985-3744 and requesting to turn over a displaced vessel. An FWC representative will then contact the owner to explain the waiver process and facilitate the potential turnover of ownership.

Owners of displaced vessels considering going aboard to retrieve personal belongings are urged to follow safety measures:

  • Wear closed-toe shoes
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Have a safety observer present

For more imagery and video of the Hurricane Irma response, please visit our Hurricane Irma Flickr page.

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