By Leigh Armstong 

The owner of the derelict boat on the Dyea tidelands has yet to remove his property and people have begun to scavenge parts off the hull.  

Skagway Police released a statement on Aug. 19, reporting that they are investigating the theft of two props and a main shaft valued at $7,000.  

“The sunken vessel that is beached on the Dyea Flats still has an owner and is not abandoned. This means that parts of the vessel are not available for people to take,” the police said in their statement.  

James Doppler, of Juneau, is the owner of the 44-foot boat that capsized in front of Dyea on July 28 and washed ashore a few days later, suffering damage as the cabin separated from the hull.  

Doppler spoke with interim borough manager Stan Selmer on Aug. 6 and said he would come and retrieve the boat within a week. 

Doppler arrived to fix and remove the boat but reported the missing props and shaft to the police, Mayor Andrew Cremata said. 

If the owner does not remove the boat, the municipality could pay a contractor to dismantle the vessel and haul away the pieces, Cremata said. Hamilton Construction quoted the borough almost $20,000 for removal if the responsibility fell to the municipality. 

The borough would prefer that the owner undertake the work. “If it takes him a week, two weeks, a month to remove it, it’s better than putting the cost on the municipality,” Cremata said. 

After the ship sank, hypodermic needles with a substance that tested positively for methamphetamine washed ashore. An investigation is ongoing into the drugs.