Time is up for historic tugboat set to be demolished

Posted 7/10/19
A historic tugboat is under demolition at the Port Townsend Boat Haven, to the dismay of local boat restoration enthusiasts.

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Time is up for historic tugboat set to be demolished

A historic tugboat is under demolition at the Port Townsend Boat Haven, to the dismay of local boat restoration enthusiasts. The 66-foot-long tugboat built in 1955 is referred to as the “Fulton” because it was built in the Fulton Shipyard in Antioch, California. Since the tugboat was left derelict and posted in the Sinclair Inlet in Port Orchard, officials have not been able to locate the actual name of the tug. According to the Department of Natural Resources Derelict Vessel program manager Troy Wood, the tugboat has been listed on DNR’s “vessels of concern” list since 2016. “We had to wait to take care of it until we had the funds,” Wood said. “We get roughly $2 million per biennium to deal with derelict vessels. We have to prioritize which ones get removed.” For the 2017 to 2019 biennium, the Derelict Vessel Removal Program has $2.5 million, which comes from recreational and commercial vessel fees and revenue from state-owned aquatic leases. Currently, there are 154 vessels on the “vessels of concern” list, and only about $24,000 left in the budget, which will be renewed in the new biennium. The Fulton was one of five derelict vessels that presented enough of a risk to the environment and public health that DNR wanted to act as soon as possible, Wood said. Using a transfer of funds from the Aquatic Land Enhancement Account, DNR was able to put up their removal to bid. “They were such a threat to aquatic lands that DNR upped the ante to pay for their removal,” Wood said. The other vessels, which include a 75-foot tugboat, two sailboats and a cabin cruiser, were raised and hauled out in the Port of Everett to be deconstructed. Two of the vessels had completely sunk, Wood said. The Fulton tugboat was too big to haul out at the Port of Everett, which is why it was brought to Port Townsend and hauled out at the boat yard, where contractors evaluated it and began deconstruction on June 26. The initial deconstruction is taking place on the interior of the boat, which was found to have asbestos in some areas. As a result, demolition will not take place until 10 days after the Asbestos/Demolition Notification was filed. But some hope the boat won’t get demolished at all. Scrawled across the side of the boat in orange spray paint are the words, “Please save me.” Whoever the mystery graffitist is, he or she isn’t alone. Christian Lint, captain and engineer of the historic yacht “Northwind,” has made a career of restoring old boats. Not only did he help restore Northwind, which has a storied past as a boat that assisted during the Dunkirk evacuation of 1940, but he is also the owner of El Primero, a steam yacht that was built in 1893. At one point, Lint was the owner of the Fulton tugboat, Wood said. Now, he is making a plea to buy the boat back. “That boat has some of the finest workmanship in the world,” Lint said. “There’s nothing in the world built like it. I would put up $10,000 cash right now to stop them from destroying it.” But Wood said it is likely too late to save the Fulton. “There has been plenty of time for this vessel to be saved,” said Wood. “It has been on our list since 2016. It’s been up for sale online for years. And it hasn’t been taken care of properly.” Under the Derelict Vessel Act, once a vessel has been declared derelict, an owner must take action or it will be seized by the authorized public entity listed in a public notice. Once custody is obtained, the agency may use or dispose of the vessel in any appropriate and environmentally sound manner without further notice to any owners. Not only would it take an immense amount of work to fix up the vessel, but the 30 days of notice are up and a contract was secured for its demolition, Wood said.


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Dawn mohrbacher
It's a mid century vessel. Not really worth saving in comparison to many others
Thursday, July 11