Derelict vessel removed, difficult operation completed

Derelict vessel removed, difficult operation completed
A diver, working for marine contractor Salonen Marine, guides a hook onto a strap around the hull of Class Action.

In seven hours – spread over two days – the deed was done. Class Action was unceremoniously exhumed from her watery grave in the Ortega River May 11-12 and toted away in pieces on a barge.

The operation began around 12:30 p.m. on May 11, as a barge operated by Salonen Marine towed a crane to a site in the Ortega River between the drawbridge and U.S. 17. After a diver slung straps under the hull in two places, the crane operator began to hoist the derelict boat from the water, but the operation was halted around 3 p.m. when it was determined the weight of the boat was too much for the crane.

The marine contractor, and the City of Jacksonville, were under the gun to get the submerged 51-foot motor vessel removed.

“It has to be gone by the middle of May so the city can request reimbursement from FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission),” said Captain Jim Suber of Suber Marine Services Inc. and also City Waterways Coordinator.

The $16,000 project was partially funded by the FWC, which granted the City $12,000 for the removal of Class Action.

Class Action had been moored in the Ortega River since sometime in 2014 but in June 2016 when its operator was leaving the harbor, it lost power and took on water. Despite bailing attempts, the boat sank within eyesight of homes on McGirts Boulevard. It was declared “Derelict and Not a Hazard to Navigation” in July 2016, thus initiating the process to obtain funds to remove it.

According to Suber, in addition to pumping out mud, on May 12 the contractor had to offload furniture and fixtures by hand to lighten the load. When the crane finally pulled the boat from the river, it broke apart and one of the two engines dropped off.

Finally, by noon, all the pieces that once were Class Action were on the barge and on the way out of the Ortega harbor.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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