With a coastline longer than that of the Lower 48 states combined, the State of Alaska has many coastal and riverine communities accessible only by water means and located off of the road network. As a result, these communities see considerable marine and riverine vessel traffic. While still a young state, Alaska has become home to an ever aging fleet of vessels due to federal and state fishing rationalization programs, economic downturns, the inevitable aging and increased maintenance costs of these waterborne vessels, and increased requirements of vessel regulations and permits. Taken all together, many of these vessels have become uneconomical to operate as intended and therefore do not move and stay moored in a public harbor or anchored over public or state tidelands. These vessels form an increasing number of derelict and abandoned vessels throughout Alaska’s coast and rivers. Without a clear and pro-active response strategy and program for dealing with abandoned and derelict vessels (ADV) in public waters, the number of abandoned and derelict vessels will continue to increase and will leave the public to pay for the increased risk of damage to the natural environment.
In 2014, Alaska Clean Harbors with the support of Cook Inletkeeper began facilitating an ad-hoc Abandoned & Derelict Vessel Task Force with stakeholders from around the state. The purpose of the Task Force was to bring together state and federal agencies, municipalities and other interested stakeholders to address ADV in Alaska in a coordinated manner and identify long-term needs for prevention and effective management of ADV around Alaska.
SB92: critical updates to alaska's derelict vessel law!
On March 10, 2017 Senator Peter Micciche introduced Senate Bill 92 Vessels: Registration/Titles; Derelicts. This bill takes the feedback and revisions drafted by the Task Force and will be a huge step forward for Alaska and our ability to track, manage and prevent derelict vessels. Email Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org to get updates on the Bill. You can read it's full text and see its progress at the Alaska Legislature's website.
adv task force newsletters
Alaska adv resources
House Concurrent Resolution 53: Relating to abandoned vessels on the beaches of Alaska (2/12/1990)
Alaska Derelict vessels in the news
Feds say shipowner owes $1.65M for spill cleanup (Law360, March 7, 2017)
In a first, state sues company over an abandoned barge in a slough near Bethel (ADN, Dec. 19, 2016)
Abandoned vessels litter Alaska's shorelines while officials work on a fix (ADN, Sept. 28, 2016)
Frustration lingers over two derelict tugboats in Adak (ADN, May 20, 2016)
What can be done about Alaska's derelict vessels? (APRN Talk of Alaska, May 13, 2016)
'The Challenger is gone' (KTOO, March 11, 2016)
Slideshow: Tugboat Challenger refloated and moved to downtown waterfront (KTOO, Feb. 23, 2016)
Sunken tug Challenger to be raised and destroyed (KTOO, Feb. 5, 2016)
Empire Editorial: Strong action needed to avoid repeat of Challenger sinking (Juneau Empire, October 15, 2015)
My Turn: Responsibility for abandoned and derelict vessels in Alaska (Juneau Empire, Opinion, Oct. 8, 2015)
Sunken barge irks Kuskoswim residents (APRN, July 15, 2014)
House votes unanimously on ghost ship bill (KTOO, April 9, 2013)
Problems plagued fish processing vessel that went hard aground on Alaska's Kodiak Island (Oregon Live/AP, March 18, 2013)
Sunken vessels lifted, removed from Jakolof Bay (KBBI, Jan. 25, 2013)
Derelict ship causes ammonia scare (Newsminer/AP, Jan. 2, 2013)
Cordova harbor saga ends: Polluted, abandoned vessel finally removed (ADN, Dec. 28, 2011)
Derelict ships cause problems in Seldovia, Homer harbors (Homer News, Feb. 25, 2009)