CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - The Texas General Land Office reports that nearly all the boats from Port Lavaca to Aransas Pass that either sank or took on water during Hurricane Harvey have been removed.
On Wednesday, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush paid a visit to Aransas Pass to inspect the operation.
After Harvey hit, 679 submerged vessels desperately needed to be removed from the water. 160 of those were extracted by Unified Command, a partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office that is completely funded by FEMA.
"We're days away from completion," said U.S. Coast Guard Commander Tedd Hutley, incident commander of the Hurricane Harvey ESF-10 response. "As of this morning, we have five vessels left that we're working in the Seadrift, Port Lavaca area."
"This is by far the fastest and most efficient response that we've seen," Commissioner George P. Bush said.
Bush said the initial concern with sunken or displaced vessels is pollution. Recovery workers found a total of 57,000 gallons of oil and 8,200 pounds of hazardous material along the Coastal Bend.
"Yes, there was an abundance of oil and hazardous material that was released but did not present an issue for residents or for industry," Bush said.
Both Bush and Hutley are praising everyone who was a part of the mission; especially the 146 Coast Guard officials who have been working along the coast for over two months.
"They worked hard," Hutley said. "Many of the members of the Coast Guard and our agency live here and they want to get back as quickly as possible, and their efforts were shown today."
Although 514 boats were removed by their respective owners, 160 had to be taken out by Unified Command, a costly operation being funded by FEMA.
"A lot of praise needs to go out to the responsible vessel owners who had insurance. The Marina owners who had insurance," Hutley said.
Most of the Coast Guard officers said they will return home within the next week with a sense of accomplishment, happy to have helped coastal communities.
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