Boats and wrecks in Simpson Bay Lagoon.
PHILIPSBURG–The salvaging of wrecked vessels and their removal from Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond will commence in July as part of government’s Hurricane Irma Emergency Debris Management Project.
The actual work should take up to 150 calendar days. The project is funded via the St. Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund financed by the Netherlands and managed by the World Bank.
The project is a joint operation of the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI and the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (TEATT), with the support of Nature Foundation and Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC).
The project consists of salvaging, decommissioning and disposal of up to 100 damaged vessels that are moored, partially-submerged, submerged or run aground in the lagoon. The project scope also will include the collection, processing and disposal of concentrations of storm debris located along some 10.5 kilometres of the lagoon’s shoreline.
Also within the project is the transportation of the wreckage to a decommissioning yard, where waste separation and processing will take place in an environmentally-sound manner. Following completion of separation and processing activities, the separated waste will be transported offsite to approved disposal or recycling facilities.
The project activities will take place within the waters of the lagoon and on associated public shorelines, and within the decommissioning yard.
Pursuant to Article 9 of the National Ordinance on the Removal of Shipwrecks (AB 2015, no.9), owners of the remaining shipwrecks in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond will be informed through an official publication that there remains an opportunity to remove their vessel themselves.
A period of six weeks, starting on the date of the publication – March 12 – will be given to the owners to remove their vessels in an environmentally friendly way. After this period, boat owners forfeit their legal rights to their vessels and the VROMI Minister will initiate a procurement procedure to remove all listed remaining shipwrecks.
An Environmental and Social Management Plan is being prepared, for which stakeholders will be contacted soon to provide feedback. This plan is required to mitigate any environmental and social risks that may be connected to this project.
The work of salvaging, decommissioning and disposal of the shipwrecks will be commissioned to independent contractors. Government is also coordinating the execution of these works in consultation with the authorities of French St. Martin.