Derelict boats earmarked for removal from coastline

About 30 abandoned boats across the island’s waters are being targeted for removal as part of a marine clean-up effort in collaboration with Keep Bermuda Beautiful.

public notice from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that it had identified 29 vessels left in Ely’s Harbour, Mill Creek, Riddell’s Bay, Lagoon Park, Spanish Point, Mullet Bay and Great Bay as potentially subject to disposal.

The notice will render the vessels government-owned from February 17. After that time, marine contractors will remove them in an agreement with KBB.

Under the Marine and Ports Authority (Dumping) Regulations 1967, the Minister of Transport can direct the disposal of abandoned vessels that are “likely to become unsightly or prejudicial to the free navigation” of Bermuda’s waters.

The notice said: “Government is using any visible vessel registration details to help identify the owners but, for many, it cannot find any characteristic names or boat registration details on many of these abandoned and derelict boats.

“However, if you are the owner of any of one of these boats you have 30 days from the date of this notice to take the appropriate action to remove your vessel from its current location and relocate it to a site which does not contravene the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 2002, the Marine Board Act 1962, the regulations or any other law of Bermuda.

“Should you wish to identify to government whether any of these vessels belong to you then you can voluntarily agree to allow the ministry to dispose of it at no cost to you by completing a consent form and returning it to the Department of Marine and Ports Services or by visiting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ headquarters in the Botanical Gardens or the Department of Marine and Ports Services.”

The notice said that if the owners of the boats did not respond, the vessels may be disposed of and the owners could be held responsible for the costs.

Vessels will be disposed of at the airport dump and the Government will ship any hazardous waste overseas.

The joint initiative between KBB and the Government launched in 2022 has resulted in the removal of 80 abandoned vessels from the island’s waters at a cost of $180,000, provided by private and corporate donors.

Amy Shillingford, of KBB, thanked its donors and partners for supporting the project and said it would soon launch a new fundraising campaign to continue the work.

“It’s been rewarding to receive feedback from the community on the project and hear from members of the public who can once again use their local dock or bay safely, now that the abandoned and dangerous derelict boats have been removed,” she said.

“We should note that our project addresses sunken abandoned and derelict vessels only. There are many abandoned vessels floating on moorings and anchored in bays, neglected and deteriorating, just waiting to go down in the next storm.

“KBB is not only removing sunken ADVs with this joint government initiative but the charity is committed to developing a permanent solution to the problem with the ability to remove ADVs before they become an environmental hazard or danger to swimmers and boaters.”

Ms Shillingford said KBB had formed a working group with the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce to research the problem and craft recommendations to provide a permanent solution.

“We’ve spoken with government and insurance representatives and reviewed legislation, and will be presenting our recommendations to our government partners soon,” she added.

Royal Gazette