Manatee County Government Administrative Center Honorable Patricia M. Glass Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - October 22, 2019
October 22, 2019 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #30

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Derelict Vessel Removal Grant Application


Contact and/or Presenter Information
Alan Lai Hipp, Environmental Program Manager, x6008

Action Requested
Authorization for the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioner to sign the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) Derelict Vessel Final Removal Funding Opportunity Program Application and authorization to encumber the full cost of removal and disposal of the Caroline prior to reimbursement of 75% of this cost by FWC.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statute 125

Background Discussion

The Caroline C is an 80-foot, 170 ton, steel freighter that has been stored at anchor in several locations in the Manatee River since approximately 2003.  The condition of the vessel has declined during this time and it has not moved from its anchorage in the river adjacent to Snead Island in over 10 years.

The vessel took on water and settled on the bottom on September 24/25, 2019, resulting in a discharge of petroleum to the surrounding waters. Parks and Natural Resources immediately retained a local salvage company to raise the vessel in order to minimize any further environmental impacts. Although currently floating, the vessel continues to require periodic pumping out to remain so and its' severely corroded hull is leaking in several locations.  The vessel is no longer seaworthy. The vessel will sink again, likely within a few days, if periodic pumping out is stopped. This vessel is a significant threat to the marine environment due to the potential for additional petroleum discharges and boater safety due to it's unseaworthiness.

At the request of County Marine Resources staff, FWC law enforcement initiated a State derelict vessel investigation on the Caroline C, which concludes on October 21, 2019; after which the vessel can be officially declared derelict by the State and cleared for removal. County Marine Resources staff also contacted FWC's Derelict Vessel Coordinator to begin the funding grant application process for rapid removal of this vessel. Under normal circumstances FWC's funding process can typically take several months.

While the vessel could be removed under the County's Lost and Abandoned Vessel Ordinance, removal by County process is ineligible for State funding. The FWC investigation allows the County to complete a Derelict Vessel Rapid Removal Grant Application to fund 75% of the total removal and disposal cost of the vessel; the procurement process is in progress so we do not yet know the exact amount of removal but it is estimated to be between $130,000 and $150,000.  This amount will be paid in full by the County to the marine contractor prior to reimbursement by FWC to the County. The remaining 25% of the removal cost will come from West Coast Inland Navigation District dollars. No general fund dollars will be used to remove and dispose of the vessel.

Removal of this vessel will result in a significant benefit in terms of eliminating certain future environmental threats as well as threats to public boating safety, due to its condition and the fact that the owner is not maintaining proper navigational lighting on it.

The grant application is not fully completed at this time due to the yet to be determined removal cost and FWC's ongoing investigation ; however all required information and documentation will be submitted to FWC prior to the completion of their investigation to allow for expedited funding and removal of the vessel.

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Please provide a copy of the signed original to Alan Lai Hipp, alan.laihipp@mymanatee.org.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
117.9019150 WCIND Nagivation Improvement

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
One time expenditure. Procurement process in progress, cost to be determined

Attachment:  FWC Derelict Vessel Grant Application.pdf