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Getting Results: State orders abandoned, derelict boats to be removed from Elizabeth River inlet

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Posted at 7:07 PM, Dec 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-10 21:25:41-05

Regina Gomez first came to NewsChannel 3 back in November, asking us to take action about all the abandoned and derelict boats clogging up the Elizabeth River inlet behind her family's Norfolk property.

And today, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission finally considered her case against Timothy Mullane.

He is the Norfolk salvage yard owner who Gomez's attorney says bought most of these boats to turn into artificial reefs.

“It’s a commercial boat yard flying under the radar and things have gotten out of control,” said Jim Lang.

“It certainly does seem like a mess, and it needs to be addressed,” said VMRC Commissioner Jack Travelstead, who promptly ordered his staff at Tuesday’s meeting to start the process of proving ownership, then forcing Mullane to remove all these boats quickly.

If he doesn't comply, the VMRC says they plan on pursuing criminal charges against him through the attorney general's office.

Originally, the City of Norfolk said they were going to look into the issue, but after months of no action, Deputy City Attorney Cynthia Hall finally requested VMRC's help Monday by email, one day before the Commission was set to meet.

“In her email, Mrs. Hall points out the problem is big enough to get various agencies involved,” said Tony Watkinson, the Chief of Habitat Management for VMRC.

“We hope the VMRC will take action, and that the City of Norfolk takes action,” said Gomez.

Taking Action, and Getting Results for these property owners.

“We are thankful for your coverage. Thank you for being first on the scene, and for continuing to follow-up. It’s going to take public pressure to make sure government agencies do what they need to do, so thank you for keeping up the public pressure, we appreciate it,” said Gomez.

Related: 

More than 20 boats clog Norfolk waterway