Before the Port of Astoria can get out of North Tongue Point, the agency will have to pay more than $20,000 to clean and demolish an abandoned fishing boat left behind.
One of the Port’s last pieces of property at North Tongue Point is the run-down 74-foot wooden fishing boat Recruit. The boat has languished the past several years on a collection of wooden blocks supported by boat stands outside on the tarmac.
Port Executive Director Jim Knight said the Port needs to remove the vessel or pay rent to tug- and barge-builder Hyak Tongue Point, which bought the former Navy base from Washington Development Co. after the Port terminated its lease.
The boat’s previous owner was Thomas Lewis, according to a Port property seizure list. He came in several years ago for repairs and abandoned the vessel before it began to sink in the night, Knight said.
“The Port, I still would say wisely, pulled that vessel out of the water to prevent any further contamination of the Columbia River, which was at risk because of the fluids still aboard the vessel,” Knight said. “We, at our expense, pulled it out, tried to track down the owner for compensation and were unable to do that.”
The Port seized the Recruit and tried to sell it, but nobody was interested. Ever since, the boat has sat on stands on the tarmac.
The Port had a proposal from an excavation company to tear the vessel apart but didn’t initially realize it would also need contractors to remove harmful substances such as dirty bilge water and oil to avoid contaminating the site, Knight said.
The cost of disposing of the vessel adds to the $2 million staff estimates the Port has lost operating North Tongue Point over the past eight years.
Port Commission President Frank Spence pointed out how Warrenton Marina staff recently pulled out of the water and demolished the 43-foot fishing boat Western Skies. Port Operations Manager Matt McGrath noted that they were on dirt in Warrenton, whereas North Tongue Point is on asphalt feeding into a stormwater treatment system.
“With these contractors, there are several of them that can come out of Vancouver and pump the fluids out,” McGrath said. “We can get the bilge water out ourselves.”
Staff hopes to have new proposals for demolishing the boat by the next Port Commission meeting, Knight said.