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Removal of derelict fishing vessel to begin in May

Posted on Apr 22 2021

The wreck of the Lady Carolina rests in the shallow waters of the central Saipan Lagoon in this photo taken in December 2019. (Trevor Heiland/Smithbridge
Guam Inc.)

A Saipan-based environmental non-profit organization called Pacific Coastal Research & Planning will oversee the removal of the derelict fishing vessel Lady Carolina from the Saipan Lagoon beginning in early May.

The project is expected to take approximately two months to complete.

PCRP has hired several Saipan- and Guam-based contractors—Smithbridge Guam, Tano Group, Deep Blue LLC, Koa Consulting, and Johnston Applied Marine Sciences—to conduct the removal, disposal, and environmental monitoring activities related to this project.

The Lady Carolina is an 83-foot, 54-ton, steel-hulled fishing vessel that has been grounded in a shallow, highly visible area of the central Saipan Lagoon since it broke free of its mooring during the devastating passing of category 4 Typhoon Soudelor in August 2015. The vessel was further damaged during Typhoon Yutu in 2018. Removing the grounded vessel will prevent further environmental impacts to sensitive habitat, such as coral reefs, and endangered species.

Funding for this removal effort is being provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund. This project has also received continual support from local government partners, including the Commonwealth Ports Authority, Bureau of Environmental Coastal Quality’s Division of Coastal Resources Management and Division of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and its Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The Lady Carolina is one of many abandoned and derelict vessels, or ADVs, in the CNMI. ADVs can obstruct navigational channels, damage ecosystems, and diminish the recreational value of the surrounding areas. ADVs are difficult and expensive to remove and therefore may persist for years, breaking apart and creating widespread debris fields that threaten marine and coastal environments. Most of the ADVs in the CNMI, including the Lady Carolina, are a result of typhoons. PCRP would like to remind boat owners in the CNMI to practice storm preparedness and properly secure vessels and equipment in order to prevent additional ADVs and marine debris.

For more information on the removal of the Lady Carolina and project activities, visit PCRP’s website at pacificcrp.org or contact Becky Skeele, executive director of Pacific Coastal Research & Planning, at becky.skeele@pacificcrp.org.

Based on Saipan, PCRP is a small non-profit committed to better understanding and improving coastal environments in the Pacific region. Our work draws on a wide-range of expertise and capacities, including environmental planning, geospatial services, fisheries management, marine monitoring and research, and coastal hazard mitigation. (PR)

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