ACT Environmental removing derelict vessels in Southport

SOUTHPORT, Fla. (WMBB) — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is trying to remove several derelict vessels left behind from Hurricane Michael. 

State officials have contracted with ACT Environmental to remove 2 derelict vessels off the shore in Southport near the Bailey Bridge. They’ve been there for over 5 years.

“The vessels could have been there post Hurricane Michael. Some of them might have been there previously, but we know that we believe they’ve been there at least that long,” Lynn Haven Mayor Jesse Nelson said.

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They’re included in the state’s list of derelict vessels in need of removal. It’s taken them a while to get to the job.

“Florida’s a large state, and this area had a lot of derelict vessels after the hurricane, so it’s just been a list that they’ve been working through. I think they’ve just not been able to get to their list of vessels in our area that they’re going to be working on. I think that’s going to be a focal point for the next few months or so probably,” Nelson said.

Not only are workers getting rid of eyesores, but they say the removal of these vessels will help keep other boaters safe by maintaining open waterways.

“Out near Shell Island or going out into St Andrew’s Bay you have several boats that are converging at the same time. Usually, you’re following the rules of the water, or trying to, with a derelict vessel right there in the middle and trying to decide, okay, who’s going where, how are you going to get around it without hitting the other boaters and also making sure that you’re paying attention that you don’t actually run into the derelict vessel yourself.”

Crews will pull the derelict vessels out of the water and then destroy them. 

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“They actually have a crane and dump truck that they bring with them, so they’ll put it in the dump truck and actually crush it right there on site. They’re looking to take out a three-foot vessel in a 55-foot vessel.”

The project should not take more than 2 days. The cost of the removal is covered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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