My name is Dorion Hobbs. I live here in Juneau, and I own and operate S.E. Underwater Services. My company was tasked with the demolition and removal process of the Challenger tugboat.
I am writing to respond to questions asked by Carter Nielsen, who wrote a letter to the editor published in Sunday’s paper with concerns about the process and potential fuel/oil spills.
The possibility of hydrocarbon spills and sediment control was addressed from the beginning of the project. Within minutes of the vessel being grounded on the beach on Thane two layers of containment boom were placed around the vessel. Also an extensive spill kit was on site.
The first layer is the yellow floating oil boom. This boom floats 12 inches out of the water and has a curtain that submerges another 12 inches below the surface. This was to contain any fuel or oil release during the demo process as well as to contain any floating debris from the demo process. The second was a black silt fence, similar to oil boom. This boom floats eight inches out of the water and has a 15-foot fabric skirt that hangs below to control any natural sediment that is stirred up by the machinery.
All booms remained in place for three tide cycles after the wreck was removed. All debris from the vessel inside the containment boom were gathered and disposed of. No significant hydrocarbon release was observed over the course of the project.