A privately owned 107-foot tugboat sank south of the downtown cruise ship docks at the National Guard dock overnight Thursday, and according to the owner, he is unsure how it is going to get out of the water.
“I don’t have a clue what we’re going to do,” said the owner, Don Etheridge, in an interview early Thursday evening. “It’s going to be one step at a time to see what it’s going to take to get it up and out of there.”
The boat, named the Tagish, was a personal restoration project of Etheridge, who is board chair of CBJ Docks and Harbors, for more than two decades where it sat permanently moored at the location. According to Etheridge, it is uninsured.
“It just sank so fast,” Etheridge said. “It was floating high and dry yesterday and everything was fine, and then I get the call this morning that she was sunk.”
Matt Creswell, City and Borough of Juneau harbormaster, said the sinking was reported to authorities around 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and at around 9 a.m. Docks and Harbors staff along with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation arrived at the scene to address cleanup mitigation and recovery efforts.
Creswell said the situation will continue to be monitored, but recovery and salvage efforts are now in the hands of the vessel’s owner.
Approximately 60 gallons of diesel fuel and 50 gallons of lube oil were on board the vessel according to Creswell, who said the vessel was actively leaking around 11 a.m. but began to slow down. Booms were placed in the water at around 11 a.m. Creswell said he does not know how much of the oil spilled into the water as of early Thursday evening.
Etheridge said the main priority right now is stopping any oil from spreading further and continuing to mitigate pollution. He said divers on Friday will head into the water to plug off the vents from the fuel tank. Beyond that, he said he’s unsure what is going to happen next.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at email@example.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.