Hoboken begins removing boats abandoned in cove after Superstorm Sandy
Work has begun to remove abandoned and sunken boats from Weehawken Cove. The boats were left in the area during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
The city of Hoboken wants to remove 17 boats in total. Officials say that it is a long and tricky process. All of the work will take place from aboard a barge.
The first piece of debris that was pulled up was the mast of a sunken sailboat. Attached was the sail. A crane is helping to resurface the boats.
A diver, working from a support boat, must carefully attach a sling to each piece. It is a difficult and dangerous task because the boats in the cove are not intact.
“It’s really quite amazing. It’s been a long time coming,” says Hoboken resident Peter Farley.
Farley says he used to paddle through this waterway. He says it has been a depressing sight to see the abandoned boats and masts slicing through the water.
“It is indeed trash left behind, and I’ve always wondered how boat owners can simply walk away from their boats and have no responsibility to clean this up,” Farley says.
Hoboken officials say that while most of the boats were left from Superstorm Sandy, others were abandoned later.
"We definitely know that some were brought in here or towed in by other boats and just left here. And some in the middle of the night. So, it was an intentional abandonment,” says Hoboken Council Member Tiffany Fisher.
Fisher has pushed the cleanup forward. The work is getting done with help of a $235,000 grant. She says in some cases it has been difficult for the city to find the boat owners to hold them accountable.
"They do have an inventory of the registrations and the names. In some cases, they may know,” Fisher says.
Fisher says owners may be dealt with again once all of the boats are removed.
The project is expected to take four to six weeks to complete. Once all of the boats are gone, the plan is to turn the cove into a recreational area.