JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — No timeframe is in place for the removal of a tugboat stranded in the channel next to Juneau, officials said.
The 107-foot (33-meter) tugboat Lumberman has been stuck on a sandbar in the Gastineau Channel since May after it drifted when its anchor line broke, the Juneau Empire reported Wednesday.
The channel falls under a patchwork of state, federal, and City and Borough of Juneau jurisdictions. The vessel is currently on state tidelands, so removing the boat is the state’s responsibility, said Rorie Watt, the Juneau city manager.
Watt told Juneau Assembly members Monday that city staff members have received numerous complaints from residents sharing the sentiment that “we’re watching a slow train wreck in motion.”
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“It’s essentially an eyesore and a solid waste problem that is rising and falling with the tide on state tidelands,” Watt said.
The state Department of Natural Resources is looking for funding sources to move the boat, said Chris Carpeneti, a natural resources specialist for the department.
“It’s something we have to deal with, derelict vessels,” Carpeneti said. “Unfortunately there’s not a pool of money that’s been developed for DNR to deal with them.”
The state Legislature passed a bill earlier this year that aims 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.
The U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel this summer and removed fuel, eliminating the risk of an oil spill, Watt said.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com