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State to owners of abandoned Hampton boat: Get it out, or we will

Union Leader Correspondent

July 15. 2014 2:54PM
Hampton's unwanted guest may soon be seized by state officials. (Ryan O'Connor Photo)

HAMPTON – The Seacoast's unwanted "Guest" has made a new list, and it's not a good one.

The 70-foot, would-be houseboat, named "Guest List," washed ashore in the salt marsh at the end of Tuttle Avenue in Hampton in January. It had been floating in the Hampton River since last fall, when it came loose from its mooring at Hampton Harbor Boat Works.

Its owners, Andresa and Marcelo Nunes, who currently reside in Mexico, reportedly ran into financial troubles that halted their plans to turn the vessel into a livable yacht.

Now, state officials are taking action, seizing the boat and giving the Nunes' 90 days to take action.

Tracy Shattuck, chief harbor master for the state Division of Ports and Harbors, said efforts to work with the Nunes have proved unfruitful thus far, prompting the Oct. 12 deadline.

"We consulted with the Attorney General's Office, and while we've had some cooperation and hope to continue to have cooperation, we felt it's important to take this step so we have recourse down the road should they fail to remove the vessel," he said.

Shattuck said he's drafted a certified letter that is being sent to the Nunes' last known address in Mexico. A determination, he said, has yet to be made on how to proceed should the state take legal ownership of the boat.

"Once it's property of the state, we will dispose of it in any fashion we deem appropriate," he said. "It could be destroyed, it could be sold, that determination would be made down the road."

Alicia Preston, whose 25 Tuttle Ave. home abuts the salt marsh where Guest List currently sits, said she's cautiously optimistic that the boat will be moved.

"I'll believe it when I see it," she said. "I don't know why it couldn't have just been deemed abandoned months ago. In fact, I know it could have.

"If the state had any efficiency at all, they'd put an add up on Craigslist saying 'Free boat if you haul it off,' but the government can't get out of it's own way."

Still, Preston said the boat is causing problems. Recently, she said, Hampton police were arresting an underage female for DWI in the area and found two underage male companions on the boat.

"I don't think they were actually partying on the boat, and I don't know if that incident is what spurred the sudden interest from the state, but the reality is that I and others have been saying that (teenagers drinking on the boat) was going to occur for four months, and it wasn't until a police report came out that they finally took notice," she said. "Three months from now, we're talking about the boat having been here for 10 months. Something should have been done long before then."

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