JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Juneau officials have decided to review ordinances on anchoring boats in an attempt to stop vessels from being left to waste in city waters.
The Assembly has taken up the issue in response to a notorious tug boat that’s been anchored near a downtown harbor for years, KTOO Public Media of Juneau reported on Feb. 10.
There is currently no time limit for anchoring in city waters of the Gastineau Channel, which falls between federal, state and local jurisdictions.
Juneau Harbormaster Dave Borg said that’s a problem because Juneau’s harbors weren’t made for vessels to sit in wet storage for “eons.”
“Because they cause a lot of problems as far as deteriorating, pollution, they become a nuisance, basically,” Borg said.
The Docks and Harbors board sent the Assembly draft regulations to address the issue. The board’s fix would require permits for boats anchored more than 24 hours in city-owned or managed waters and tidelands.
The notorious boat that stirred controversy over anchoring is the M/V Lumberman, a 1940s-era tug anchored at the entrance of Aurora Harbor. It’s an non-permitted liveaboard paying no mooring fees.
In December 2017, a small boat carrying five people to the Lumberman capsized. Three people made it safely to shore but two Juneau men, James Cole and Sheridan Stringer, were never found.
Three months before the deadly incident, Juneau’s port director had told the vessel’s owner to move the tug away from the harbor, Borg said.
The Coast Guard recently boarded the vessel and found oily waste, aerosols, batteries and other hazardous waste. An Anchorage-based contract crew was paid about $62,000 from the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to remove nearly 5 tons (4 metric tons) of waste in January.
“We’ll be monitoring the situation and coming up with a plan next,” Borg said. “I really don’t want the boat, I would rather that someone would up and leave the area but I don’t think that’s going to be an option.”
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Nicholas Capuzzi said the proposed anchoring limits could help the local harbormaster keep these kinds of problem vessels from laying anchor and becoming a long-term problem.
Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org