Minister Lake calls on mariners to remove hurricane gonzalo damaged vessels from inland waterways/lagoons and clean-up coastal debris

Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is calling on mariners whose vessels were damaged during the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo three weeks ago to remove the vessels from inland waterways and lagoons, and to also clean-up debris.

“I’ve observed some of the vessels that partially sunk or were blown ashore, have been removed within the Simpson Bay Lagoon, however, there are still a number of vessels that are partially underwater or sitting onshore.  I am appealing to the owners of the vessels to make arrangements to have these vessels removed as soon as possible,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

Nature Foundation in an assessment after the passing of hurricane Gonzalo noted that approximately three dozen boats sunk and that there was significant debris such as wood, fiberglass and other solid materials.

There was also some significant fuel in the water, both as diesel and as gasoline.  Oil was also present in the form of motor oil.

“The boat owners of vessels that are submerged or partially, and those that are near the shoreline, should check if there is fuel still on-board and have that removed in a responsible manner prior to moving the vessel.  This is the responsible thing to do and I am sure every boat owner is aware of that.  All stakeholders have a responsibility to take care of our natural waterways and lagoons,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

The Minister’s appeal is in line with Nature Foundation’s recommendation from its first assessment report that wrecked vessels be removed as fast as possible to further reduce the introduction of fuel into the environment of the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Oyster Pond areas.

Minister Lake would also like mariners to come together to help clean-up the shorelines in the inland waterways and lagoons of hurricane related/other debris.

“Due to boats being tossed around and sunk due to the passing of the hurricane, a lot of debris washed ashore and is an eyesore, but most importantly, it’s bad for the environment. I would like to see boat owners and the maritime sector coming together to clean-up the areas that they utilize as part of the national clean-up effort.

“We have the tourist season that is coming up and we should also have our waterways and lagoons clean of debris associated with the maritime sector.  I think this is something that could be coordinated by the maritime sector.  We had a national clean-up on land, now we need the maritime sector to follow-up suit, and I am looking forward to seeing this come together within short,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.