Coast Guard to remove sunken ships off Hayden Island due to rising hazards

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 9:24 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Two abandoned ships that sunk off Hayden Island are finally being removed; the Coast Guard announced last Wednesday it and other agencies plan to remove the Alert and Skarissa from the Columbia River starting this month.

In a press release, the Coast Guard stated “Due to hull deterioration and oil saturation of the vessels’ interiors, they have been discharging a sheen into the waterway. They also pose a collision hazard for vessels operating outside the navigation channel.”

The press release goes on to say “The Coast Guard plans to begin operations in early September, starting with dive assessments to determine the safest way to raise and transport the two vessels. The Coast Guard plans to conduct operations to raise the vessels throughout the month of September.”

Pink post-seizure notices were posted on the waterfront stating the vessels have been seized.

Patrick Castro, the president of the Hayden Island West Association, provided a statement to FOX 12 following the announcement. He says he and other residents couldn’t be happier.

“We are all excited here on the island that these ships will be removed. They have been there for 10+ years, the owner passed away and the homeless took over, living on the waterfront and on each ship until they both sank last year.”

Last November, FOX 12 spoke to Kevin Flanigan, owner of Schooner Creek Boat Works just down the river from where the boats have sunk. He said not only is it a sad sight to see, but it’s also concerning.

“It’s just a bad situation getting worse,” said Flanigan in Nov. 2021. “We work directly downriver. Any spill could end up in our bay.”

We caught up with Flanigan on Monday to get his reaction to the news that the ships will finally be removed.

“I’m so grateful that the United States Coast Guard has decided to clean up this mess out here with the two sunken vessels,” said Flanigan. “It’s a jewel to our city, the waterfront. It’s so beautiful. It really needs to be cleaned up and restored.”

The Coast Guard says during project activities, the immediate vicinity of the area will be closed to public access.