Waterlogged eyesore to be removed from Ortega River

Waterlogged eyesore to be removed from Ortega River
Class Action is destined to be removed from the Ortega River sometime this spring.

It will be good news for residents on McGirts Boulevard in Ortega when a waterlogged eyesore is finally hauled up and away.

Waterways Coordinator for the City of Jacksonville Jim Suber said he is currently going through the process to obtain funds from the City of Jacksonville to have Class Action, a 51-foot motor vessel, removed from the Ortega River, where it has been resting since June 2016.

“We don’t have an exact timeline yet [for the removal],” said Suber, “but it’s hopeful that one day will be sufficient.”

After the funds are released, a bid process will be opened. The chosen contractor will determine how to wrest the boat from the bottom of the river and haul it to a landfill after any parts are salvaged. State law requires that derelict boats be destroyed, according to Suber.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conser-vation Commission (FWC) received a $1.4 million grant for derelict boat removal and will provide $12,000 or approximately 75 percent of the cost to remove Class Action. The city will release funds for the other 25 percent or $4,000.

Suber, who was the supervisor of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit for seven years prior to his current 10-year tenure as Waterways Coordinator, said he has participated in approximately 30 -35 removals during that 17-year period.

According to Florida law, intentionally abandoning vessel on the waterways is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Addition-ally, the boat owner is responsible for restitution to the state for the cost of removal

Class Action, which was declared “Derelict and Not Hazard to Navigation” last July, arrived in the Ortega River sometime in 2014, anchoring in the harbor between the Roosevelt Boulevard and Ortega River bridges. Allegedly, while its operator was on the way out of the harbor in June 2016, the vessel lost power and began to take on water. Despite initial attempts to bail it, according to witnesses from nearby homes and businesses, the operator of the boat was unable to keep it afloat.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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