Boat Recovery Process Continues In Seaway

Nine weeks after the storm, sunken and grounded shrimp boats remain scattered along the industrial seaway in Gulfport.

The ongoing effort to remove the vessels is the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Gulfport's industrial canal became a sort of maritime graveyard after Katrina. The storm submerged the "Captain Kevin" just under the draw bridge. Other fishing boats were tossed ashore on August 29th.

"The reason we're removing these vessels is because they represent a hazard to public health and safety," said Captain Ed Stanton of the US Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard oversees the recovery process, a job that requires specialty skills and equipment.

"In general, a very large barge and a very large crane or two of them. Sometimes diving to attach slings. A large wench mechanism. This is all very large equipment and it takes a good deal of expertise to remove a vessel without damaging it," said Stanton.

Recovering a large boat can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Insurance companies will foot some of the billl; the government will pay for the uninsured.

Although many boats have been removed from the industrial canal in the nine weeks since the hurricane, there is much work remaining. The first priority was removing sunken vessels from the navigation channel. Once that work is finished, the many boats that are grounded can then be salvaged.

"We're going to continue doing it until we're done. I would hope as soon as the end of December," said Captain Stanton.

Finishing the work will transform the industrial seaway from a boat depository, into a navigable waterway.