Tug Lumberman finally towed out to sea and scuttled

The long-running saga of a derelict tugboat that was abandoned near Juneau, Alaska in 2016 has come to an end, with the tug being towed out to sea and scuttled in the Gulf of Alaska, the US Coast Guard has said.

The Lumberman was abandoned in the Gastineau channel five years ago and had been causing a variety of problems ever since.

In January 2020 the vessel floated away from where it was anchored and ran aground, finally coming to rest near the Juneau Yacht Club (IMN January 20th 2020). The borough did not have the financial resources to deal with the incident, and it was not impeding a navigable waterway. There had also been jurisdictional issues, as the Gastineau channel is a patchwork of Juneau, state and federal lands.

The USCG said that the decision was made to dispose of the vessel at sea after the 107ft steel hulled tugboat was determined to be derelict and a significant risk to public safety.

USCG Sector Juneau accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in 2017 to remove petroleum product and again in January 2020 to secure the vessel when it became adrift in Gastineau Channel.

Juneau’s’s Docks and Harbours department hired Seattle-based Global Diving and Salvage to remove hazardous material and about 230m/3 of debris. It also conducted a stability assessment and prepared the Lumberman for scuttling. Eventually an EPA General Permit was obtained for vessel disposal at sea offshore Southeast Alaska.

A USCG cutter towed the Lumberman to a position 54 miles west of Cross Sound, where it was sunk in over 8,400 feet of water on Sunday.