Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Fla. beach barge upsets residents

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Florida Today
By Lindy Thackston
April 13, 2006


FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- Among the multi-million dollar homes and serene beachfront sits a jacked-up barge, leaving several residents of this northern Florida area unimpressed.

"How can you say it's not a safety hazard?" asks surfer Darrell Williams. He wants it gone.

Others are busy trying to guess what it is.

"I think it's a ship looking for sunken treasures," said Joe Gova. And he was right.

Ed Gavron, an officer with Amelia Research and Recovery, says the company built the barge from scratch in the late 1990s.

The company has been digging up shipwrecks since then. The most recent finds are from deep under the water in the southern tip of Amelia Island.

Once the entire site is escavaged, the find could be worth $10 billion. Whatever buried treasure the company uncovers, the state gets 20 percent its value. The company and shareholders split the rest.

"When you dig up pieces of history that haven't been seen for 300 years, that's the real thrill," Gavron said.

So why is the barge sitting on the sand?

"We came in to resupply the boat and fix a few minor problems with it, and to refuel," Gavron said.

The Coast Guard said the barge has a right to be positioned on the coast. The company has a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Gavron says the barge will be leaving within the next week to start digging again.

The Coast Guard has recieved some complaints about the barge. The main complaint: It's an eyesore.


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