Action Report: What is being done in the derelict boat cleanup in the Bay

Action Report: What is being done in the derelict boat cleanup in the Bay

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Dwayne Lewis, Helen Peters and Roy Herron complained that the City of Bay St. Louis, the Department of Marine Resources and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality have done nothing to force Dewey Bobinger, the owner of the boat, to remove the once submerged vessel which they say was leaking fluids into the canal.

After our report aired last week, the neighbors say the boat sank again.

Bobinger now has a couple of men and women using a crow bar, sledge hammer and a circular drill saw to remove the boards from the boat. R.C. Wollmeth is one of those workers.

"We worked really hard to get this boat up today, and our plan and everything is to get the boat patched up, the holes and the boat is not going down again, "said Wollmeth.

Another worker said they are moving as quickly as possible to disassemble the boat.

"We're getting the marsh grass cleaned back up, getting it back up to regulation and code, "said the worker.

So, did the submerged boat have regulation and code issues?

"Never did, never did," the worker replied.

Bobinger reiterated what the worker said, that the boats haven't broken any codes or regulations.

Bay St. Louis City Councilman Lonnie Falgout says the boats are causing environmental issues. He says he has talked to various agencies, but nothing has been done.

Bay St. Louis city attorney Donald Rafferty has discussed the derelict boat issue with local, state and regulatory agencies to make sure Bobinger is in compliance with all rules and regulations, but Rafferty says the process takes time.

A spokesperson for the Department of Marine Resources told WLOX that once a submerged vessel sinks, but is refloated, there is nothing the agency can do for at least 30 days.

Lewis, who lives next to the derelict boats, isn't happy about the situation. He says boats have sank numerous times in the canal since 2012 and not one local, state or government agency has done anything to clean up the canal.

He questions how Bobinger doesn't even have to pay a penalty or fine for numerous violations. He says he doesn't know where to turn to get immediate help.

Bobinger says he hopes to have the boat cleaned up in about three weeks, and he'll also remove the other boat.

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