No timeframe for removal of stranded Alaska tugboat

No timeframe is in place for the removal of 107ft tugboat Lumberman, which has been stranded on a sandbar in the channel next to Juneau, Alaska, USA, since May 2018. officials said. The vessel drifted when its anchor line broke, reported the Seattle Times.

Part of the problem is that the channel falls under a mixture of state, federal, and City and Borough of Juneau jurisdictions. Rorie Watt, Juneau city manager, put the responsibility on the state, saying that the vessel was currently on state tidelands, so removing the boat was the state’s responsibility.

Watt told Juneau Assembly members last week that city staff members had received numerous complaints from residents.  “It’s essentially an eyesore and a solid waste problem that is rising and falling with the tide on state tidelands,” Watt said.

Chris Carpeneti, a natural resources specialist for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said that the department was looking for funding sources to move the boat.  “Unfortunately there’s not a pool of money that’s been developed for DNR to deal with them”, Carpeneti said.

The state legislature passed a bill earlier this year that aimed to give  governments more tools to enforce regulations governing derelict vessels. The additional registration and shipping fees under the legislation are expected to direct funding for the removal of derelict vessels. That funding will likely not be available until sometime next year, Carpeneti said.

During the summer the US Coast Guard boarded the vessel and removed fuel, eliminating the risk of an oil spill, Watt said.