Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) announced yesterday that Pacific Coastal Research and Planning is receiving $300,000 in federal funds to remove the Lady Carolina, a large, steel abandoned fishing vessel, from the reef outside Saipan harbor.
The ship broke free of its moorings during Typhoon Soudelor, damaging 6,000 square feet of coral habitat, and has remained abandoned in the harbor ever since.
“Congratulations to Pacific Coastal Research and Planning for being one of only 11 applicants nationwide to successfully compete for a community-based marine debris removal grant,” Sablan said.
“Out of a total of $1.2 million awarded for all 11 grants, our local Marianas business took a sizeable amount, $250,000.”
In addition to the marine debris removal grant, Pacific Coastal Research and Planning is receiving $50,000 from the Coral Reef Conservation Program for the removal project. Both programs are administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to NOAA, Pacific Coastal Research and Planning will work with a contractor to remove the derelict vessel to prevent further damage to reef areas. The company will also work with local media to highlight the removal project to the public and share ways to prevent marine debris in the future, such as proper storm preparation. Additionally, the project will involve collaboration with the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, and the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife.
“We are so excited to leverage these federal funds in support of the local government’s efforts to remove this abandoned vessel from the reef of the Saipan lagoon. Removing the Lady Carolina will help prevent additional damage to the surrounding reef and will further help the Saipan community recover after Typhoon Soudelor,” said PCRP’s co-founder Becky Skeele.
The project is expected to take about two years. (PR)