“Nuisance” tugboat scuttled off Alaska

Written by Marine Log Staff
Derelict tugboat under tow prior to scuttling

The derelict tugboat Lumberman is towed by a crew aboard the (not pictured) Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, a 154-foot Sentinel–class vessel, to a position 54 miles west of Cross Sound, Alaska, on May 2, 2021.[U.S. Coast Guard photo]

An abandoned tugboat deemed to be a “nuisance vessel” was scuttled offshore Southeast Alaska, Sunday.

The operation to sink the derelict tugboat Lumberman was carried out by the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Docks and Harbors and Global Diving and Salvage, assisted by Coast Guard Sector Juneau.

The Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, a 154-foot Sentinel–class vessel, towed the Lumberman, a 107-foot steel hulled tugboat to a position 54 miles west of Cross Sound where it was sunk in over 8,400 feet of water.

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

Prior to the scuttling, CBJ hired Global Diving and Salvage to remove hazardous material and approximately 250 cubic yards of debris, conducted a stability assessment and prepped the Lumberman for sinking.

Following environmental consultation with key stakeholders CBJ obtained an EPA General Permit for vessel disposal at sea.

The decision to scuttle the Lumberman, which had been abandoned in the Gastineau channel in 2016, was made after it was determined to be derelict and posed a significant public safety risk.

“Nuisance vessels are a challenge to address. In this case we were able to coordinate the appropriate resources to safely remove the threat Lumberman posed to navigation, the local environment and the community of Juneau,” said Cmdr. Byron Hayes, Sector Juneau response chief.

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