Minister: Plans underway for removal of derelict boats from Potter's Cay Dock

By JADE RUSSELL

Tribune Staff Reporter

jrussell@tribunemedia.net

AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Jomo Campbell says plans are underway for the removal of derelict boats from Potter’s Cay Dock, stressing that the boats are a safety hazard. 

 Mr Campbell said on Friday that there have been ongoing conversations about the redevelopment of Potter’s Cay Dock. His comments came after a fire on Monday destroyed five vessels at the dock.

 Asked about the investigation into the fire, Mr Campbell told reporters that the investigation was still active. He said several factors could have contributed to the start of the fire. “Luckily in the fire that took place there was no loss or injuries of anybody,” Mr Campbell said on the sidelines of an event where the Chinese Embassy donated produce to his Centreville constituency.

 “But it just goes to highlight the fact that we do have a pressing issue with boats. People go on those derelict vessels, they sleep there in the nighttime. They use them as a sort of makeshift home, sometimes using candles or lanterns. Any number of things could have contributed to that.” 

 The number of abandoned boats at Potter’s Cay Dock has been a longstanding concern. Many have complained the boats are a safety hazard to the environment and have become an eyesore. 

 Last week, Ornanique Bowe, president of the Potter’s Cay Dock Fish, Fruit and Vegetable Vendors Association, believed Monday’s fire was caused by derelict boats in the area.

 Mr Campbell said the first step in removing the derelict vessels is determining which vessels are seaworthy at the dock. He explained he wants to allow boat owners to redeem their boats themselves before officials have to take action to remove them.

 He added that he intends to meet next week with Acting Port Controller Berne Wright to address the longstanding concerns of  derelict vessels at Potter’s Cay. 

“The first thing is to determine whether or not any of them are seaworthy. And then if they aren’t we want to move them out of that area because not only does it pose a risk in terms of the health and safety to the persons, but could you imagine the marine life,” he said. "So, we have to do everything in our power to ensure the health and wellness of humans and the animals.”

 Two separate fires in November and December of 2023 resulted in the loss of three vessels and three stalls at Potter’s Cay Dock.