I had two large shrimp boats in Key West when Dennis and Katrina came thru. Both storms battered my boats too bad for me to repair them. I contacted FEMA and was told that they would help. I had to get my boats to a railway and have estimates for repairs. So I took them back to my home town of Tarpon Springs and did as I was told. And when I contacted them again I was told the devastation was too great in Mississippi and Louisiana for them to help me. I borrowed fuel on credit down in Key West to get my boats to the railway, and even though Tarpon Springs used to be a fishing village now there isn't dock space for our boats. I had to bank my boats on the edge of the river using fuel in a five-gallon bucket to move them. Now they're sitting there, and no way to repair them. I'm being fined daily and told I am gonna have two felony charges, one for each boat, if I don't remove them in thirty days. Water has gotten into the engines, so now they're in even worse shape.
I did get a job mowing grass for $10 an hour, and I'm thankful just to feed my family. Both my wife and I work and have just enough to pay taxes and insurance on our home. I sold what property I had and lost 300,000 dollars' worth of boats. I'm lucky to still have my home. Over twenty years of fishing and shrimping made a fair living for us. I sure miss my old life on the water, but need to move these boats. I don't want to go to jail or have them felonies just because two storms destroyed my life and boats. The city of Tarpon Springs wants about $25,000 in fines and then $30,000 to $40,000 to remove each boat. Are other hurricane victims being treated like this also? Thats twenty years of my life and 300,000 dollars' worth of boats, and I sure wouldn't just abandon them. I survived two major hurricanes and now I'm facing this nightmare. Thanks for any info. 727-741-1937
Tarpon Springs, FL
Oct 10 2007 - 9:27pm