Tug Challenger Removal, Hoist to begin Sunday

A Coast Guard Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew and members of the Sector Juneau response department deploy containment boom around the sunken tug Challenger in Gastineau Channel in Juneau, Alaska, Sept. 13, 2015. The vessel sunk the day before while anchored in the channel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst)

A Coast Guard Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew deploys containment boom around the sunken tug Challenger in Gastineau Channel in Juneau, Alaska, Sept. 13, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst)

JUNEAU, Alaska – Hoisting operations to remove the Tug Challenger from Gastineau Channel are scheduled to begin Sunday.

The Brightwater Crane made a safe transit under the Juneau Douglas Bridge Friday evening and is now rigged and ready for hoist operations.

Global Diving and Salvage, Inc will attach the four previously installed slings to a spreader bar which keeps the slings upright and helps evenly distribute the weight.  The Brightwater Crane will hook into the spreader bar and slowly raise the tug.  As the Tug Challenger is raised, crews will dewater the vessel and monitor for any pollution.  Boom has been prestaged in sensitive areas including the Mendenhall Wetlands Refuge and the Douglas Island Pink and Chum facility in the unlikely case that fuel or oil escapes the containment boom around Tug Challenger.

Two experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be on scene using approved bird hazing techniques to keep wildlife from the work site.

“The hoisting evolution is a slow and steady process which may continue through Sunday evening and into Monday,” said Cmdr Marc Burd, deputy incident commander. “Our top priority is to ensure the safety of all personnel on scene and remain prepared to respond to any pollution concerns.”

Once raised, Global Diving and Salvage hopes to get the tug afloat on its own.  Tug Challenger will then be towed to AJ Dock where it will be thoroughly decontaminated of any of any petroleum products and hazardous materials.

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