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DH | Hurricane-damaged BVI vessels ending up in St. Martin waters

HomeMediaDH | Hurricane-damaged BVI vessels ending up in St. Martin waters
Hurricane-damaged BVI vessels ending up in St. Martin waters
MARIGOT–French-side sea rescue SNSM said over the weekend that a large number of hurricane-damaged vessels from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are ending up in St. Martin hoping to get repaired and potentially putting further strain on salvage or rescue operations here, not to mention possibly increasing the number of wrecks not yet salvaged.

An example of this was an SNSM mission on Friday, May 18. Surveillance centre CROSS contacted SNSM at 4:00pm after a witness reported a catamaran sinking in the bay of Anse Marcel. Four volunteer SNSM crew members responded to the call on the Rescue Star with a motor pump at the ready. On arrival, the vessel in question turned out to be a Nautitec Open 40 catamaran, almost completely submerged in three metres of water but still attached to its mooring from the bow.

It was realised that the motor pump was not appropriate and this was a salvage job using divers and air balloons to raise the vessel. There was no one on board. After taking an exact GPS position of the vessel, the SNSM crew returned to Marina Fort Louis without being able to help.
SNSM said in its release that it had learned later that the catamaran had lost its mast and sank in the BVI during Hurricane Irma.

“BVI authorities issued a decree obliging owners of hurricane-damaged boats to remove them from their territorial waters before June 1, 2018,” the release stated. “Owners try to get rid of them to the highest bidder and there are a lot of wrecks that are bought by local people, hoping to make a good deal by bringing them back to St. Martin and rebuilding them in the local yards.

“Unfortunately, these are the same vessels for which we are obliged to rescue (our last three interventions were an example). These vessels are often poorly equipped and for the most part should not even begin a journey from the Virgin Islands in the state they are in. Let us hope these latest owners have the means to have their wrecks repaired or, in this case, re-floated and that they will not be part, permanently, of our maritime environment, like so many other beached or sunken wrecks from Hurricane Irma.”

Bron: Daily Herald

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