Thursday’s story about plans to sink salvaged tugboat Marion in Man of War Shoal Marine Park was interesting. A release by the National Recovery Programme Bureau (NRPB) spoke of creating an artificial reef and dive site, which also makes it a tourist attraction.
Mind you, not everyone may agree with these types of interventions using man-made objects in nature, no matter how well-intended. That’s why it’s good to know St. Maarten Nature Foundation, local dive operators as well as the Inspectorate of Shipping and Maritime Affairs are involved, while a choice out of four possible locations was made based on what appear to be sensible criteria.
This initiative caps off a shipwreck recovery activity under the Emergency Debris Management Project (EDMP) of the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, completed last December. A total of 139 damaged boats were taken out of Simpson Bay Lagoon and all waste materials have been sent abroad for environment-friendly reuse or disposal.
With so much preparation regarding the Marion, building up relevant knowledge and experience in the process, one can’t help but wonder if something similar cannot be done about the D-Boat stuck on the rocks at Beacon Hill since January 2020.
Early efforts to pull the vessel off the coast failed and a foreign company that owned it no longer exists, while the person who concluded a lease with local operators seemingly has shown no real interest. This consequently remains a clear and present danger to nearby shoreline properties, residents and visitors especially going into the height of the hurricane season.
After 2½ years, government has every reason for declaring this ongoing “accident waiting to happen” a threat to public safety, with sufficient legal grounds for immediate seizure and removal. Considering the necessary organisation, equipment, financial means and other resources already present to handle the tugboat, would somehow adding this hazardous D-Boat eyesore be asking too much?