Sunken boats becoming an eyesore

March 24, 2009 12:09:18 PM PDT
In Delran, New Jersey, they're dealing with a different kind of foreclosure problem.Boaters have been complaining about the deteriorating conditions-where almost half the boats docked have either sunk or are taking on water.

"They're totally sunk. At high tide you don't see them, they're totally underwater," said Chris Christopoulos of Delran.

"There's been pieces of furniture floating in the water that guys that are down here on the dock pick up," said Mike Gerber of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.

Delran Twp. officials say, since they found out about conditions at Castle Harbor last week, they've been trying to track down the owners of the property, which is in foreclosure, going so far as to hire a private investigator.

"We did find an old tax list from this fellow, and he had a Philadelphia address, so we're looking to that at this time," said construction code official Hugh McCurley.

After calls to the DEP, the Coast Guard and the Attorney General's office, the frustrated mayor says he's still trying to figure out who's responsible for handling the situation since the township's jurisdiction ends at the water line.

"Nobody knows, really, who has jurisdiction here, and it seems like nobody wants to take ownership," said Mayor Ken Paris. "So, we're trying to find somebody who's going to reach out and help us."

Paris says the DEP visited the marina on Monday. The Coast Guard tells Action News it won't get involved unless there's a navigational hazard. Several boats are cut off from land after a dock collapsed and the township is asking boat owners to come forward.

"It's crazy. It's a shame. It's sad. People spend lots of money and work hard for those boats," said Stephanie Rossino of Delran.

Where are the owners? And who has jurisdiction over the sunken boats? It's all still unclear, but the mayor says he wants to find out fast and get this mess cleaned up.

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