For nearly a year, two abandoned barges have been left floating in Flushing Bay, damaging the water quality and presenting dangers to those that use the bay for both business and recreational purposes.
On Monday morning, Congressman Joseph Crowley, along with advocates for Flushing Bay, met outside World’s Fair Marina, Pier 1 to call on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the removal of these barges. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being called upon because one of the barges obstructs the federal channel.
Flushing Bay is a heavily used waterway, seeing a significant amount of cargo pass through each year. It is also used by the NYPD Harbor Patrol, companies that use the bay for commerce and recreational users. These barges create hazardous conditions for any type of vessel traveling through Flushing Bay.
“When we as a community took notice of these abandoned, derelict barges drifting across our bay, we demanded that they [be] moved immediately,” Crowley said. “These barges are not just an eyesore, and they are an eyesore … they are contaminating our waters and posing an immediate safety hazard to vessels that operate through the federal navigation channel.”
Some of the organizations that use Flushing Bay include several of the dragon boat clubs, many of which include high school students who use the clubs as a way to better their lives and prepare them for college. Another club — the Empire Dragons, a breast cancer survivor team — uses their club as a network of support.
“We are simply asking for help because we’re at a point where we do need the help,” said Randy Ng, member of the Guardians of Flushing Bay. “There is a lack of resources from our standpoint and if there is anything that we can do to take part in, and take responsibility and help our community we would do so. We’re not looking for a handout, we are just looking for answers and we’re just looking for a safe environment.”
Crowley is also seeking a federal investigation to find out who is responsible for leaving these barges in Flushing Bay.
“We are calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite, to get this done. Not tomorrow, today. We must also send a powerful message to those who would pollute our waterway, that Flushing Bay is not a dumping site,” Crowley said. “It’s not your backyard and Queens won’t stand for those who treat it that way. We demand accountability from those who think it is okay to leave their refuse behind, to leave their junk behind. It simply is not okay.”
Crowley’s office has written a letter and is ready to send it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking to expedite the process of removing these barges from Flushing Bay.