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Clean up and fundraising efforts continue for the Voici Bernadette

Post Date:07/31/2018 8:06 AM

Cleanup and fundraising efforts to sink a 180-foot freighter off the coast of St. Lucie County made a splash in July raising roughly $4,000 with a “Battle of the Bands” at Wes’ Backyard BBQ in Vero Beach with another $2,000 collected to plant native vegetation at Wesley’s Island.

MMPS Environmental coordinated the “Battle of the Bands” with the top band, Risky Pesto, winning over the crowd with tunes by Jimi Hendrix, Bill Withers and several country hits.

Environmental consultants and crews continue to prepare the vessel to be transformed into an artificial reef. After removing many of the pollutants, they have now steam cleaned the fuel tanks. Preparations are underway for draining hydraulic fluid, but there was a hydraulic leak under the forward hatch, which will be mitigated and removed. This cleanup work is being overseen by McCulley Marine Services subcontractor and Marine Environmental Transport, which have conducted cleanups at anthrax scare sites in Washington, D.C.  Crews are taking all the necessary personal and environmental precautions to protect the employees and Indian River Lagoon.

Additionally, volunteers continue to remove and collect memorabilia from the freighter including porthole windows, spotlights, flags, cargo nets and more. These items will be auctioned off at future fundraising events.

Area businesses, fishermen and residents interested in supporting efforts to sink this 180-foot freighter can do so through sponsorship and donations, including placing a personalized plaque on the ship to memorialize a friend or loved one. These plaques range in price from $100-$500 and can be considered a tax-deductible donation. For details contact Katrina Collins at; Kathy Green at or Christa Stone at or visit:

 For more information about St. Lucie County’s artificial reef program, volunteering or donating to help improve St. Lucie County’s coastal resources, or for more information on the Voici Bernadette, contact St. Lucie County Coastal Resources Supervisor Jim Oppenborn at 772-462-1713 or

For a detailed list of the all of the county’s artificial reefs including GPS coordinates for fishing and diving, as well as videos of past projects, visit:

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