Alaskan authorities face the problem of recycling old ships
About 54 percent of the vessels in Southeast Alaska have reached the end of their service lives, but their owners don't have the money to dispose of them.
"It will cost you a small fortune to dispose of a vessel. It's cheaper to just pay the insurance for the vessel than to get rid of it. However, insurance companies end up refusing to work with it because of its age," acknowledged Don Etheridge, ship owner and the chairman of the Juneau Docks & Harbor Board.
The raising and disposal of sunken ships is funded by the Alaska budget and the federal government. It's worth noting that more than half of the vessels in Southeast Alaska were built before 1980 and are in a state of disrepair. The problem is compounded by the lack of mandatory insurance for the vessels.
As an example, the tug Challenger, which sank in 2016 near the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, cost $2 million to raise.