The fact that many boat wrecks have still not been removed from in and around Simpson Bay Lagoon (see Monday paper) almost two years since the passage of Hurricane Irma is indeed a crying shame. Even after similarly devastating Hurricane Luis back in 1995 this was seemingly accomplished more quickly.
Readers will remember that a local marina brought in a large barge from abroad to salvage damaged yachts shortly following the September 6, 2017, natural disaster, but it was not allowed to operate due to legalities. Meanwhile, another barge salvaged many of the wrecks at Oyster Pond.
Now the wait is on an Emergency Debris Management Project of US $25 million to be financed with a grant from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund handled by the World Bank. The public keeps hearing that this is to start soon, but so far that has not been the case.
When it finally does, the number of wrecks still to be disposed of will have probably gone down significantly from the 160 counted in April 2018. Not only were several since recovered, but others mainly made of wood have partially dissolved in the brackish water and basically been “swallowed up” by the lagoon.
In addition to getting rid of what’s left, it would behove authorities to also work with stakeholders on a specific plan to address this issue for the future. The idea is to either have the required resources already in place or introduce a fast-track procedure for importing these.
Considering the economic importance of the marine industry and entering the second month of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, that certainly appears no unnecessary luxury.