Decayed fuel tanks razed at R.M. Packer Co.

Only a pile of dirt and debris remains where the old fuel tanks used to sit at the R.M. Packer Marine Terminal. — Gabrielle Mannino

The shoreline along Beach Road in Vineyard Haven underwent a substantive change just before the New Year with the removal of four fuel storage tanks from the R.M. Packer Terminal. The tanks, two with a 100,000-gallon capacity and two with a 20,000-gallon capacity, were taken apart on Dec. 26 and 27 by an off-Island contractor, and shipped out on Dec. 30, according to R.M. Packer Co. owner Ralph Packer.

As The Times reported in November, Ralph Packer planned to demolish the tanks over the winter due to their decrepit states, their obsolescence, and because he wished to free up space on the premises. Mr. Packer previously said he anticipated hiring New Bedford contractor Sherman Smith for the job, but he told The Times recently that the contractor he settled on was Stephen Draper. Mr. Draper’s crew stripped apart the tanks with a grapple-mounted excavator, Mr. Packer said. He said that he marveled at Mr. Draper’s adroitness with the heavy machine, noting that after the tanks were taken apart, Mr. Draper used the excavator to roll up the sheet steel like he was spooling ribbon.

Oil response equipment and “a truck or two” are among the things Mr. Packer said he plans to store in the freed-up space.