If you have been to Juneau in the last year, odds are you have seen the abandoned, 107 foot long World War II era tug boat, named the Lumberman, in Gastineau Channel. Everyone in Juneau seems to know something about it, but not many know the whole story. After several phone calls and some research, we were able to get to the bottom of it.
The boat was purchased by a local. He anchored it in the Channel and meant to use it as some kind of “bunkhouse”. Many locals soon started referring to it as the drug boat. In December 2017, five people tried to go to the Lumberman on a skiff. It flipped over and two people were never found. The other three survived.
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After being anchored for years in city waters near Aurora Harbor, last May the Lumberman broke anchor and drifted up the Channel. It’s the State’s problem now as it landed in waters that belong to the State of Alaska. The boat has been firmly anchored in place by the Juneau Docks and Harbors Board.
It’s been there ever since. The Coast Guard has spent money removing fuel and other hazardous materials from the boat. They also hired a company to remove water that had accumulated on the boat. Estimates to remove the boat are as high as a $250,000! It would involve towing the boat to Hoonah and then scrapping it. There was an idea to tow the boat out to deeper waters and sink it, but the Coast Guard and Department of Environmental Conservation gave that idea a hard no.
The State does not have the budget to deal with the Lumberman. It’s value is almost nothing as all of the equipment worth anything has been removed. Sources say the Juneau Assembly has instructed the Docks and Harbors Board to try and find a way to remove the boat. I’m sure the State will have no issue with that. Since this debacle, the Docks and Harbors Board has passed new laws to prevent the indefinite anchoring of boats in the harbor.
The Alaska Landmine is willing to pay up to $1,000 towards the removal costs if we can permanently attach a very large, Alaska Landmine banner to the boat. The banner must be provided by the Alaska Landmine. The banner must remain on the boat until the boat is scrapped, sank, or purchased.