New bill to allow removal of derelict vessels from state waterways

Thanks to the state legislature, the Department of Marine Resources will be able to remove derelict or abandoned vessels from Mississippi waterways starting Friday.

The new bill provides DMR broader and move inclusive definitions of derelict vessels. It also allows DMR to assess penalties against registered owners of those vessels to help recoup the money spent to remove them.

DMR says they plan to move these boats as quickly as possible. MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins said, “If something is abandoned or something that has run ashore or something that has basically sunken or is derelict and not being used then we can remove them. Of course, we have to go through a lot of procedures and that’s to try to find the owner, that’s the first thing you do is try to find the owner of the vessel and get them to move it. If they won’t move it, then we have the authority to move forward with a court order to do it.”

To report a derelict vessel, contact DMR Derelict Vessel Coordinator Russell Weatherly at 228-523-4040 or, if after normal business hours, marine patrol dispatch at 228-523-4134 or email derelict.vessel@dmr.ms.gov.

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