Debris removal begins at the Panama City Marina

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Right after Hurricane Michael the basin at the Panama City Marina was piled high with debris.

Debris removal began at the Panama City Marina. (WJHG/WECP)

"The marina sustained significant damage, we had not only the loss of a lot of vessels but the damage to the marina was pretty pronounced," said Panama City Manager, Mark McQueen.

Soon after the storm, McQueen tells us city employees and volunteers got to work trying to revive it.

"We cleaned a lot of it from around the concreted spaces from nails, and glass and other sharp objects," said McQueen.

Now city officials are bringing more than manpower to take the next step toward repairing the marina.

"H.G. Harders has mobilized, they have their equipment rolling in they're starting on the portion of the marina where some of the old lockers were and they're taking them all out as they start cleaning the east side of the basin," said McQueen.

HG Harders work should take about 90 days.

Currently they're removing all of the debris that's already made it's way onto land. But in a couple weeks there will be barges with large cranes out here to remove the debris from underwater.

City officials say they know exactly where to find the debris below the water's surface.

"We're really privileged to have partnered with Florida State University and the Underwater Crime Scene Team who came in here and mapped the bottom of our basin," said McQueen.

Once the debris is cleared, it's on to the next step of recovery.

"We already have a contract in place with L&R to come in and start repairing all of the bulk heads," said McQueen.

Bringing the marina one step closer to setting sail again.

"Clearly the treasure of our community beyond it's citizens is the marina," said McQueen.

McQueen says there's no specific timeline on when the marina will be fully open, but part of phase three will be installing the wet slips.

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