Simpson Bay Lagoon Cleanup Project starts, App. 120 shipwrecks to be removed from the lagoon

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Philipsburg – The National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) announces the launch of the Simpson Bay Lagoon Cleanup project the week of March 15, 2021. This project seeks to clear damage caused to the marine sector and surrounding environment by dozens of shipwrecked vessels, resulting from the passage of Hurricane Irma in 2017. This cleanup activity will salvage, decommission and dispose of approximately 120 vessels which have been observed to be either moored, partially or fully submerged in or around the Simpson Blay Lagoon.

Many of these vessels are also believed to have been shipwrecked as far back as Hurricane Luis in 1995. The project will also collect, process and dispose of collections of storm debris found along the shorelines of the lagoon and nearby Mullet Pond. Salvaging operations are expected to begin in at the eastern area of the lagoon: in the vicinity of Budget Marine and Tropicana Princess Casino and move westward towards the Airport and beyond.

All removal activities will be done in an environmentally friendly way, according to the project’s Environmental and Social Management plan. The plan mitigates environmental and social risks that may be connected to the project. Works, anticipated to last up to one hundred and fifty (150) calendar days, are being carried out by KMS BV. The company has been granted permission to utilize a small plot of land adjacent to the Airport roundabout, to place some of the equipment necessary to complete the project.

Most of the decommissioning works will be done aboard two large barge vessels brought to the island specifically for this activity. All hazardous waste from the ships will be stored in containers on-site before being shipped off-island. As the work site is located near the route to and from the airport, the property will be fenced in and remain tidy for the duration of the works. At the end of the project, the property will be left free of any debris, material or machinery. Works will be supervised by EOS Maritime.

The project has been designed in consultation with the Ministries of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI), and Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT). More on this project can be found on the project’s webpage www.nrpbsxm.org/shipwrecks. The NRPB is actively engaging with the project’s stakeholders and encourages persons who have specific questions or concerns to send an email to info@nrpbsxm.org.