By Leigh Armstrong
The municipality has told the owner to remove his 44-foot boat that capsized almost two weeks ago near the Dyea flats and later beached nearby.
“We’re hopeful that they’ll be able to retrieve the boat,” Mayor Andrew Cremata said. After the boat came ashore, the municipality told the owner to remove it, and he told officials he would move it within a week from when they spoke to him on Aug. 6.
Officials have not publicly identified the boat’s owner.
Skagway Police received a call of the ship sinking around 7 a.m. July 28. The Skagway Fire Department pulled the owner and another person of the boat safely off with no injuries. The boat was a live-aboard with a separate cabin.
After the boat partially sank, hypodermic needles washed up on the beach, along with other debris. The needles contained a substance that was field tested and confirmed to be methamphetamines, Cremata said. “The last thing we need in this community is drugs.”
The fire department worked to clean the needles from beach, and the area was clear as of Aug. 2, said Fire Chief Joe Rau.
The police and fire departments worked in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard on cleaning any oil and fuel from the water. As of Aug. 2, all fuel and oil was removed, Rau said.
On the morning of Aug. 2, Rau received word that the ship had beached on the flats, brought in by the tide. The boat’s cabin was ripped off in the process and the boat is in two pieces.
The municipality is preparing to look at options for removal if the owner doesn’t take care of the problem but must first determine whether the boat is on borough land. If the boat isn’t, removal would fall to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard said it doesn’t have funds to remove the ship from the flats, Rau said. If the municipality has to take over removing the wreck, the bill would go to the owner, Rau said.
“We recognize it’s a potential safety risk and we want it removed as soon as possible,” Cremata said.
Skagway Police are working with federal and state authorities on possibly prosecuting individuals for the illegal drugs.
The Skagway Police Chief could not be reached for comment in time for the Aug. 9 newspaper.
Anyone with information regarding boat can call the Skagway police at (907) 983-2232.