Challenger fully raised, moved to AJ Dock

The 96-foot tugboat Challenger is towed by the tugboat Norman O away from the barge-crane Brightwater to the Alaska-Juneau Mine dock to start the demolition process on Tuesday.

The 96-foot tugboat Challenger has been raised and moved to the Alaska-Juneau Dock for the next steps in its demolition.


The tugboat, built in 1944, sank in September on the Douglas Island side of Gastineau Channel off the Juneau Yacht Club. It was raised from Sunday through Tuesday in an effort using the barge-crane Brightwater and funded by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

On Tuesday, a tugboat escorted it beneath the Juneau-Douglas bridge and to its penultimate final resting place.

If the boat had not been lifted, it was thought that fuel and lube oil left aboard could threaten the DIPAC fish hatchery and the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge.

Towed by a working tugboat to the privately-owned AJ Dock, the Challenger is expected to be stripped of any hazardous material such as asbestos, PCBs and the aforementioned oil. Once cleared and cleaned, it will be taken to a beach near the Rock Dump and dismantled. The wreckage is expected to end up in Juneau’s Capitol Landfill.

The timing of the disposal is not yet known — it will depend on how much hazardous material is aboard the Challenger, those involved in the process said — and the final cost of the disposal is also not known.

In early February, a Coast Guard officer in charge of the recovery said up to $900,000 had been allocated for the Challenger effort.


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