In November of 2020, Tropical Storm Eta stranded at least six boats on Gulfport’s Municipal Beach and waterfront.
By early December, owners or the city managed to remove all but one of those boats – the sixth and largest vessel removal process began on Wednesday, February 3, according to Gulfport’s Harbor Master Denis Frain. However, the complete process could take up to a week.
Divecom Marine, an established diving contractor, worked to lighten the boat, removing hazardous fluids and then taking the vessel apart before the final cut and removal.
According to a Divecom Marine worker, the crew will safely dispose of the materials at their scrapyard.
“They are removing any hazardous waste or oil that could be left behind,” Frain said. “Once they feel comfortable, then they’ll move forward and begin cutting the hull.”
The big red boat that has been stranded on Gulfport’s shore for the last three months was originally 40,000 pounds, hence the week-long removal process.
There were also issues involving the ownership of the vessel, which dragged on longer than expected.
“We tried to get a hold of the owner, but he currently lives in South America,” Frain clarified.
The owner, unnamed for legal reasons, claims he previously sold the boat.
“There was no documentation to prove that, and we have since lost contact with him,” Frain said.
According to Frain, the boat should be fully removed by the end of this week. The removal costs totaled $10,000, according to the city.