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Canash Beach cleared of six derelict seacraft dumped in area

Canash Beach cleared of six derelict seacraft dumped in area

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by Don DeRiggs

Residents, property owners and users of the beach in the Canash area are breathing collective sighs of relief, now that work has begun to rid the Canash Beach of the six derelict seacraft which had turned the once pictureseque area into a dump.

Last week, marine contractors Sea{{more}}Operations (SVG) Ltd, who won the tender to do the work, began clearing the area of the wrecks which had marred the land and seascape of the area for over 10 years.

Last Saturday, May 9, the largest of the vessels, the ‘Carla Marina’, finally gave in to the efforts of 14 men, fishing boats and heavy equipment to dislodge her rusting carcas from the sandy, silt-heavy shore of Canash beach.

The ‘Carla Marina’ had been resting in the water on her side and had several holes in her hull, which had to be patched in order for her to float. So, prior to last Saturday’s operation, specialist diver Steve Cruickshank from Sea Operations (SVG) Ltd carried out the patching exercise.

On Saturday, Sea Operations (SVG) Ltd used two water pumps to empty the sea water from both hatches of the ship, while an excavator dug sand from around the hull to make it easier for the boat to float. The skillful excavator operator then rocked the ‘Carla Marina’ free and three fishing boats, including the “Abyss,” nudged and tugged her to her final resting place under the watchful eyes of members of the coastguard and director of maritime affairs David Robin, who supervised the operation, ensuring that the sunken wreck would pose no danger to maritime traffic.

Eventually, like a painful tooth extraction, but from the sea bed, she floated, to the applause of all who were determined to remove this eyesore from the beach.

As if that were not enough, just about 20 feet from the maritime markers that guide mariners to the safe haven of Canash, the ship got stuck on a sand bank, but the faithful ‘Abyss’ tugged at a reluctant ‘Carla Marina,’ who had no choice but to give way to her ultimate destiny.

She was sunk in over 300 feet of water, about one mile south of Rock Fort.

The final rites were performed on the ‘Carla Marina’ when the plugs were literally pulled and the holes un-patched to hasten the burial of a vessel which, no doubt, in the past had sailed hundreds of miles, brought joy, happiness and sometimes sadness to many people.

The last part of her hull disappeared below the waves and into the abyss of time at 5:15 p.m.

According to an official, of the six seacraft, only the Carla Marina will be sunk.

The five other wrecks have been broken up and dragged away, with the last two having been removed yesterday.

An official familiar with the operation said all that is left to be done is the removal of some final debris and some “light clean-up”.

Efforts to remove the vessels from the Canash beach had been in train for almost three years. In January 2013, Robin, who is also the receiver of wrecks, said his office had only identified the owner of the ‘Carla Marina’ in November 2012, just as the one-year notice in the newspaper about his office taking possession of the wreck — a legal requirement — was about to expire.

He said at the time that the owner had been informed that the ship had to be removed, but no deadline had been given. Robin said the other boats would also have to be removed.

Robin further told SEARCHLIGHT it is unacceptable for boat owners to abandon their vessels at the nation’s beaches.

Persons using the Canash Beach over the next few months have been advised to exercise caution, as some areas close to shore were dredged in order to move the boats.

“Over the next month or so parents should supervise small children at all times, as they can accidentally step into these holes close to shore. These areas will close naturally over time, but caution should be exercised, as metal fragments can also be left in the sea in these areas, despite the best efforts to clear all debris,” an observer told SEARCHLIGHT.

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