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Effort Underway To Remove Coast's Derelict, Abandoned Boats

abandoned boat 1.jpg
Courtesy of the North Carolina Coastal Federation
One of the many derelict vessels from Hurricane Florence that will soon be removed from the environment.

An effort is underway to remove 80 abandoned vessels along the North Carolina coast from Manteo to Sunset Beach.

Derelict recreational and commercial boats can compromise navigation and safety for people using the waterways.

Michael Flynn, a coastal advocate for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, said the vessels also threaten the natural habitat. The Federation is partnering with state agencies on the cleanup.

"Either by the fuel leaking out, either gas or oil, leaking from the vessels, contaminating the water, degrading the water quality," Flynn said.

State and federal agencies are funding the $1.5 million project. The removed ships will be broken down into recyclable and disposable materials.

Boats have been accumulating in recent years in large part because of storms.

"A lot of these boats are neglected, and a storm can turn a neglected boat into an abandoned one," said Ben Solomon, environmental specialist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

He said that North Carolina has more than 150 abandoned vessels that have been documented. And that number could increase with the next big storm.

The project started last week and will take several months to complete.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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