Virgin Islands boat recovery progress

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Valued Technical Contributor
Aug 17, 2012
The NYT has an interesting article this morning on recovery of sunken vessels in the Virgin Islands. See-

Several takeaways:

Only 1/3 of the sunk vessels have been recovered so far, three months after the hurricane.

Many, probably most of those that are recovered are junked.

Some that washed up were stripped of anything useful, contributing to the junking.

Many don't have insurance, also contributing to the junking.

It has been hard for the USCG to identify the owners of the recovered boats. That is a little hard to understand with hull ids on almost all boats these days. Maybe they are only looking at documented boat's owners and most were state registered or maybe even no registration.

Anyone else think that last pic looked a little odd?
Since we lived there for decades we know a lot of people who lost everything, not just their boat(s). Most of them still are without power in their homes more than 100 days after the storms. In fact our boat (which we sold) ended up upside down on top of another boat. Very few, if any, private boats have insurance because of the high cost. Commercial boats are required but many policy's exempt named storms (catch 22).

It will be years before things are back to the new normal. The up side is that for the friends of ours whose boat survived, when they decided to sell they got full asking price and closed in two days. Sellers market right now.
It's hard for me to even discuss Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands still without becoming extremely angry. They've been changed forever. Recovery isn't even in the vocabulary right now, just survival. It hit me hard when we were in the keys a few days ago. Up and alive. A few structures gone but on the whole it's largely back to business as normal. Individually, I know there are those who have suffered significant losses, but the area as a whole has recovered amazingly.

We've had an extremely large number of Puerto Ricans apply for jobs in our stores in South Florida. Nearly all talk permanent.
Anyone with out family ties and many with ties are pulling the plug and leaving. Especially for older folks. The hospital is heavily damaged on St Thomas, the ER/clinic on St John is destroyed. All the dialysis patients were shipped off to the mainland. I would expect that most of the Puerto Ricans and Islanders with school age children and viable options will leave. It is a shame how they have been abandoned by the people who have vacationed there for decades and by the government.
The company I work for is in talks to go to St Thomas/St Johns and recover approx 300 "yachts" that are aground/sunk. We just did 80 plus yachts in Key West (which wasn't really hard hit as upper keys). Big job with logistics for removal/demolition.
I can't really discuss what I as assigned to do in PR and the VI's due to contract verbiage but I was working on St. Croix for a bit and folks that I am associated with still are there.

BandB is correct - recovery of boats is low on the list right now. Lots of people that I spoke with in St. Croix who had kids have decided to move to the mainland just to try to salvage some of the year academically.

Homes are slowly getting power now but at the time I was there, 100% of the power came from generators.

Tarps were the commodity and helped to feed a lot of us. We stayed on a berthing ship and would bring food from the ship out onto the island to pass out.



This is the hospital how -

BandB is correct - recovery of boats is low on the list right now. Lots of people that I spoke with in St. Croix who had kids have decided to move to the mainland just to try to salvage some of the year academically.

Wifey B: Problem is by the time they got to mainland they were too far behind to jump in, plus their schools weren't on the same curriculum to start with.

We saw the challenge just in bringing a girl from south Texas home with us and enrolling her in high school. She's now in Jupiter but she was weeks behind so we had to get a lot of tutoring for her and she had to work very hard to catch up. Most can't do that and that wasn't with nearly the time missed as in PR and VI. Kids arriving to the mainland having missed two months or more of school, have no good option. On the other hand it's basically a lost year academically for those who stayed. The makeshift schools finally set up will do a little but you can't recover what is lost. :mad:
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