Shipwrecked sheep! Large sailboat has been sinking in Sheepshead Bay for weeks • Brooklyn Paper

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Sheeper-me-drink!

A giant sailboat has been slowly sinking in Sheepshead Bay for weeks, seeping oil in Brooklyn’s South Entrance and becoming a mini-tourist attraction for scallywags walking along the bay.

The sailboat, dubbed ‘American Venture’, has completely capsized on its starboard side, with the bow completely underwater and only the stern and mast protruding from the murky depths of the bay, just off the Shore Boulevard Mall in Manhattan Beach and the Ocean Avenue Walkway connecting Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay.

According to a nautical chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the water where the ship was located is about eight feet deep, which means it’s unlikely the boat could sink completely below the surface of the bay because of the height of its mast.

Locals say it has been there for about two weeks, since the sailboat broke away from its mid-bay location during a storm last month and likely sank after colliding with the gangway. Photos were posted to a local Facebook group of the about to capsize boat as early as October 23. On the 30th, it had sunk.

Authorities cordoned off the wreckage to prevent it from drifting away, but so far have not started working to remove it from the bay. As she sits undisturbed, what appears to be a slick of oil has proliferated in the water around the ship, presumably having leaked from its engine.

An apparent oil slick in the water adjacent to the ship.Photo by Ben Brachfeld

The wreck has become a curiosity for passers-by, due to its location just off a seafront promenade and pedestrian bridge, who are shocked by its presence and often stop to take photos.

Community Board 15 President Theresa Scavo, however, believes the city should remove it quickly. “I think it’s dangerous,” Scavo said. “And that’s a huge problem to remove.”

The Parks Department says abandoned shipwrecks can be dangerous both to other boaters and to delicate aquatic ecosystems. In addition to the damage a drifting boat can cause to other boats or coastal areas, shipwrecks can also leak gasoline, oil or other pollutants into waterways and cause havoc on delicate ecosystems.

However, the city has determined that in the case of American Venture, the wreckage is not an urgent environmental hazard. A Parks Department spokesperson said the Coast Guard inspected and removed hazardous fluids such as oil from the wreck, and other than the fluids, there is little to worry about.

However, authorities have been unable to get in touch with the owner of the boat and may even end up issuing a fine.

“While unsightly, we do not believe it to be an immediate environmental hazard,” Parks Department spokesman Dan Kastanis said. “The Coast Guard has inspected and removed fluids from this vessel, and it is not in the shipping channel. We are working to contact the owner of this vessel to coordinate its removal or seek a fine.

There is no dedicated funding source specifically for wreck removal, and they are only carried out “as needed”, meaning they could potentially be there for months or even years. There is also no agency specifically designated to manage them: the Parks Department has jurisdiction over city marinas and the Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over waterways, while the Coast Guard is responsible for addressing environmental hazards associated with shipwrecks and the Police and Fire Department handles safety issues.

When the wrecks are moved, they are stripped of their fuel tanks and are then transported to a disposal site where they are crushed and used as landfill.

A review of Google Maps images shows the boat had been moored off Manhattan Beach near Shore Boulevard and Girard Street since at least 2017. Nonetheless, the “hull identification number” used to identify the registered owner of a boat was not visible – Boatsafe.com notes that HINs are usually affixed to the starboard side, which in the case of American Venture is below the surface of Sheepshead Bay.

However, records from the 3rd annual regatta held by the Russail Yacht Club, a sailing organization mostly made up of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, show that the 54-footer American Venture, built in 1982, is owned by Dmitry Kupershmidt, a former member of the Miramar Yacht Club.

Earlier this year, Kupershmidt sued the Miramar Yacht Club, claiming its membership had been terminated in retaliation after it complained the club had hired an unlicensed electrical contractor to carry out repair work that had never been done. the subject of a request for a permit from the city. The club countered that his expulsion was within the limits of the club’s constitution and that he had in fact been sent off for repeated ‘conduct unbecoming’ including but not limited to the on-field management of the club. of an unlicensed ‘boat tender operation’, essentially charging guests money. to transport them from the marina to their boats moored in the bay.

Kupershmidt also claims he was discriminated against by the club for his status as a convicted felon, stemming from incidents in Wild Acres Lakes, Pennsylvania, where he allegedly tried to rig an election for the club’s board of directors. homeowners association and spent HOA money to build an archery range without first consulting the board. The club counters that Kupershmidt remained a member in good standing for several years after his conviction and incarceration, and that discrimination played no role in his expulsion.

Litigation in the case is ongoing.

Kupershmidt could not be reached for comment; his attorney Erik Ikhilov was unavailable for comment.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the lawsuit between Dmitry Kupershmidt and Miramar Yacht Club had been resolved in favor of Kupershmidt. The litigation is ongoing. We regret the error.

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