BRIGANTINE — A crane once used by Jersey Devils Marine Construction for dock building has sat unused and sinking off Brigantine Boulevard since the company’s owner was killed in a construction accident in June.

Now, the state Department of Environmental Protection has referred the matter to the Coast Guard, said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna, after determining the equipment is not leaking and does not present an environmental problem.

Victoria Delano, widow of Jersey Devils owner Richard Delano, said Friday she visited the site in the past week with the Coast Guard.

“Where it is right now it’s not blocking a navigable channel,” said Seth Johnson, spokesman for the Atlantic City Coast Guard Station.

He said it is the owner’s responsibility to remove it.

“We are working with (the owner) to guide her to commercial salvage,” said Johnson.

Mayor Phil Guenther said it is not a municipal issue, since it’s on the water side of the bulkhead.

“It’s in the hands of the Coast Guard and Marine Police,” said Guenther. “Everyone is aware of the situation, and we are hoping some action can be taken through those agencies.”

Delano said her husband had used the street end of Laurel Way, at about 4463 Brigantine Blvd., for storing equipment for years.

She also said she has hired North Star Marine of Cape May Court House to figure out the best way to remove the 22-ton crane. The company examined the site Monday, she said. But she does not have a target date for when it will be removed.

“I guess we will move forward starting next week,” Victoria Delano said.

Richard Delano, 68, of Mays Landing, died in a construction accident while fixing a dock June 30 in the 1200 block of Bayshore Avenue, according to police.

Homeowner Sammy Bonaccurso, who lives next to the site where the crane sits, said it has been an eyesore and a safety problem for at least a year.

“We know he died, God rest his soul,” said Bonaccurso. “But this is an accident waiting to happen.”

He said kids were playing this summer at low tide on the small, sinking barge that holds the crane.

Delano was on site about two weeks before he died, to change the direction of the crane, Bonaccurso said. Bonaccurso had requested it because he was afraid the tall metal frame would fall onto the home his wife has owned since 1992.

Victoria Delano said it has been difficult for her to handle business issues since her husband died, and that there are lies about her and the company circulating on social media — including allegations that the crane and the barge it sits on are leaking oil. She said she is pursuing legal action for defamation.

“I have been following through since the death of my husband. I was the bookkeeper. I didn’t know this end of it whatsoever,” she said. “I am doing everything I can seven days a week to deal with everything that’s left. (The crane) is only one small slice of the pie.”

She said there are contracts and bills as well.

“It would be very easy for me to declare bankruptcy. But my husband and I never wanted his business to end in that way,” she said. “I have been fighting every day to fulfill his commitments to everyone.”

Delano’s accident occurred at 11:30 a.m. June 20 in the 1200 block of Bayshore Avenue, State Police said.

Delano’s wife said at the time the family was planning to go on vacation in a week and Delano had worked 80-hour weeks so he could take time off for the trip.

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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