Was it an act of vandalism that threatened to damage, if not destroy, a section of the Hannibal marina docks?
“That is a possibility,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department.
On Thursday, as the city’s flood gates were being installed, it was noticed that something was preventing the slips on the northern end of the marina from rising with the river, as they are designed to do. It was determined that a “double-cabled wire” had been connected to the docks and was anchored to something below the water line.
“At some point and time somebody bound something to that dock without our permission and without us knowing about it,” said Dorian, noting that the docks’ anchor lines are connected to the marina wall on the opposite side of the docks from where the unapproved wire was connected.
Another wire, which had been encountered during the recent dredging, was also found wrapped to a section of the docks. It was not anchored to anything and was easily disconnected by a Parks Department employee.
It’s unknown how long the anchored wire had been there.
“We hit 20 feet several times in ’11 and it wasn’t there then,” said Dorian.
The problem was noted Thursday by Capt. Steve Terry, whose Mark Twain Riverboat is normally anchored just north of the marina.
“He called and said two of the fingers off our boat docks were submerged under water. (The wire) was actually pulling the dock into the water,” said Dorian. “One of our employees, Chad Hatton, called Jack’s Harbor Marine and they sent a boat down right away with some bolt cutters and cut the wire. That seems to have fixed the problem.”
Had the wire not been discovered when it was, the Parks Department’s docks, which cost $225,000 when they were purchased in 2005, could have been heavily damaged, according to Dorian.
“We would have probably lost them because what would have happened is as the water came up it would have just kept tipping it until they capsized,” he said.
The problem was addressed as the final flood gates were being installed on Broadway.
“We had minutes to spare before they put that last gate in,” said Dorian. “We were lucky.”