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State to seize derelict vessels

Saturday, December 28 2013

The State will seize derelict vessels in the Gulf of Paria if the owners do not come forward and move them, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said yesterday.

Currently, there are 51 derelict vessels in the Gulf and the Transport Ministry has the names of 25 of the owners and is attempting to locate the other owners, Cadiz told Newsday.

The owners would be instructed to remove the vessels and if they are not removed, the State will seize the vessels, he said.

“First we have to do a risk assessment of each vessel to ensure that they don’t contain fuel or chemicals that can leak,” Cadiz stated, noting that sunken vessels would require more investigation.

After a vessel is deemed safe to move, the Maritime Services Division of the Transport Ministry would have to determine what will be done with it - if it is to be relocated, sold as scrap, or refurbished. The wrecks are expected to be removed within the first quarter of 2014.

The action is being taken in accordance with the Environmental Management Authority’s regulations and processes.

Cadiz said it is important to prevent persons abandoning their vessels in Trinidad and Tobago waters. To that end, the Division would have to document all foreign vessels in the Gulf, making note of the owners and whether the vessel has permission to park.

The issue of abandoned vessels was highlighted earlier this month by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Game Fishing Association.

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