SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Valdez to send boat lift to hurricane-stricken Louisiana


December 10, 2005

Residents of Valdez, Alaska are in the spirit of giving this holiday season - helping fishermen in Plaquemines Parish get back on the water by donating a surplus Marine Travelift® to the parish government.

A Marine Travelift is a mobile boat hoist, often used by marinas, shipyards, fishing ports and naval installations - a new, 60-ton unit would cost between $250,000 and $300,000. Parish officials plan to use the Travelift to recover commercial and recreational boats damaged or displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

jpg boat lift

Surplus Marine Travelift® donated by the City of Valdez.
Photo Courtesy Alaska Sea Grant College Program

It is estimated that approximately 3,000 commercial and 35,000 to 40,000 recreational boats in Plaquemines Parish are in need of salvage due to the storms. As of Dec. 6, approximately 206 commercial vessels had been recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard. And at least 800 commercial vessels have been salvaged privately.

"The Coast Guard is continuing to bring in additional contractors to help with the recovery effort, but the entire process will take six to eight months," said Rusty Gaude', a marine extension agent with Louisiana Sea Grant and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. "That timeframe is altogether too long in order to jump-start the commercial fishing industry. Thankfully, some of our Sea Grant colleagues in the Northwest offered us assistance."

Through the combined efforts of Gaude', the Washington and Alaska Sea Grant programs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Pacific Coast Congress of Harbormasters (PCCH) and Valdez Port Director Alan Sorum, the idea of donating the surplus Travelift emerged. Other agencies and organizations involved in the acquisition include the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, among others. Additionally, the Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission has donated $20,000 toward transportation of the Travelift; PCCH, $1,200; and the Alaska Sea Grant program is donating a portion of its publication sales.

The Valdez City Council approved the Travelift donation at its Dec. 5th meeting. The donation of the surplus 60 ton Marine Travelift to Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana was made to help with the recovery effort of thousands of stranded vessels in that area.

"The City of Valdez knows what it's like to survive a disaster. During the great Alaskan earthquake and tsunami of 1964, our entire community was destroyed. We never forgot the generosity others showed to us in our time of need, so we really wanted to give something back now," said Valdez Mayor Bert Cottle. "We recognize that getting working boats back in the water is a critical component of south Louisiana's economy, and we're very pleased to be able to help with that."

Plaquemines Parish officials expressed their appreciation for the Travelift. "We have experienced great devastation in our parish due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said Parish President Benny Rousselle. "Out of all the economic sectors affected, the commercial fishing community has been the hardest hit. Many of these fishermen have nothing left except their boats. This contribution from the City of Valdez is vital to the rebuilding of our commercial fishing economy. I don't know how to thank them enough. The value of this donation is beyond words."

According to Doug Schneider, Marine Travelift Corporation has agreed to donate the services of their professional technician to the task of disassembling/reassembling the boat hoist.


Sources of News:

City of Valdez, Alaska
Alaska Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center

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