PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — As part of the Emergency Debris Management Project the Government of Sint Maarten will commence within short with the execution of the Ship Salvaging and Removal component of the project. As a joint operation between the Ministries of VROMI and TEATT, and with the support of the Nature Foundation and SLAC, this work will be performed to address shipwrecks and shoreline debris in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond that have resulted from Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The project will consist of salvaging, decommissioning and disposal of up to approximately 100 damaged vessels which have been observed to either be moored, partially-submerged, submerged or run aground in Simpson Bay Lagoon. The project scope also will include the collection, processing and disposal of concentrations of storm debris located along approximately 10.5 kilometers of the shoreline of the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Also, within the project is the transportation of the wreckage to a Decommissioning Yard, where waste segregation and processing will take place in an environmentally sound manner. Following completion of the segregation and processing activities, the segregated waste will be transported offsite to either approved disposal or recycling facilities. The project activities will take place within the waters of the Simpson Bay 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), the owners of the remaining shipwrecks that are located 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 (6) weeks, starting on the date of the publication, March 12, 2019, will be given to the owners of the remaining vessels to remove their vessels in an environmentally friendly way. After this period, boat owners forfeit their legal rights to their vessels and the Minister of VROMI will initiate a procurement procedure to have all listed remaining shipwrecks removed.
At present, an Environmental and Social Management Plan is being prepared, for which stakeholders will be contacted within short to provide feedback. This plan is required to mitigate any environmental and social risks that may be connected to this project. The works of the salvaging, decommissioning and disposal of the shipwrecks will be commissioned to independent contractors. The Government of Sint Maarten is also coordinating the execution of these works in consultation with the authorities of French Saint Martin.
The actual work is anticipated to begin in July 2019 and is anticipated to last up to 150 calendar days. The Emergency Debris Management Project is funded through the Sint Maarten Recovery & Resilience Trust Fund, which is financed by the Netherlands and managed by the World Bank.