The federal government must remove two abandoned barges that are languishing in Flushing Bay, U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) said at a press conference on Monday.
“Flushing Bay has historically been and continues to be a critically important waterway for New York,” Crowley said. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to recognize the urgency of this matter and act to immediately remove these derelict barges from our pay. They are not just an eyesore for our community. More importantly, they are polluting our water and creating an immediate safety hazard for the commercial, recreational and law enforcement ships that operate through the bay.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently dredging Flushing Bay, with an expected completion date on Dec. 26. The dredging is meant to restore federal navigation channels to their proper depth so that boats can use them for commerce and other purposes. As part of the project, the Army Corps are authorized to remove any barge or other object that blocks the federal navigation channels.
One barge did drift into the channel, and the Army Corps has taken responsibility for removing it. But before they do, they must go through a lengthy process to try and determine the owner of the barge, so that he or she can pay for its removal.
But Crowley argued that it was better to remove the barge first, and then find the owner.