Why a 107-foot long, WWII-era tugboat has been abandoned in Gastineau Channel for years


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.

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.

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3 years ago

What about the guy who owns it? Doesn’t he have any responsibility or liability?

Sadie P
3 years ago

In this video, Jeff Landfeld exhibits very loose behavior!

Steve Lindsey
3 years ago

What was its WW II history? This should be included. Not many WW II boats left. Might have a notable history from the war we should know about.

3 years ago
JP Goforth
3 years ago
Reply to  Larry

Thanks for those links, it does help to know a vessel’s history. I’ll pass it on to the Puget Sound Maritime Society guys Foss may have some connection to this tug they want to preserve.

3 years ago

You know the actions of the CBJ Assembly are public record, right? You don’t need to rely on sources . . . you could just do some research?

3 years ago

And what, pray tell, would said banner say?

3 years ago

The oil has been removed from this relic. The owner of record is not capable of responsibly disposing of this wreck. The City and Borough of Juneau and the State of Alaska take turns saying they are broke or cannot deal with this. What ought to happen is the owner agrees to allow the vessel to be used for a legitimate training exercise that allows the vessel to be towed to a place with deep water and sunk. The inane finger pointing and lack of will to take care of this problem is remarkable and underscores our collective inability to… Read more »

Our money's worth
3 years ago

Just what do we pay CBJ and DNR to do, if not deal with this trespass?

Good One!
3 years ago

You want a billboard, Jeff?