The “pirate ratship” is no more. The Coast Guard seized the F/V Bangun Perkasa almost two years ago while it was illegally driftnetting in the North Pacific, a practice that’s banned by United Nations moratorium because of its indiscriminate harvest. Now, the ship is on its way to the scrapyard.
What’s left of the Bangun Perkasa — and it isn’t much — is tied up at the Magone Marine dock in Dutch Harbor. The whole top of the vessel is gone; all that’s left is the rusty hull, which looks like a giant metal canoe.
It’s been more two months since Magone Marine started stripping down the ship.
“We started first removing all the hazardous materials,” safety manager Eva Lund says.
That included the asbestos-ridden insulation, and all the fuels and fluids. The fuels in particular took a while because they were stored all over the ship in small containers and barrels.
“Some of them were were able to reuse,” Lund says. “Like the diesel number two.”
From there, they began tearing pieces off the vessel, starting with the upper deck.
“The wheelhouse and everything,” Lund says. “Right now we are working on the bottom section.”
Before getting to the bottom section though, the scrapping crew had to pull all the fishing net off the ship — and it ended up being way more than anyone anticipated.
“Approximately 70,000 pounds of fishing net from that hold,” Lund says.
That’s more than 80 miles of driftnet. Magone Marine packed the net into over a thousand bags that will eventually be hauled to the Unalaska landfill. The hope is that it can be recycled at some point, but for now, it’s just being ripped up, so it can’t go back in the water.
The foam and wood from the ship are also headed for the landfill, but the metal will be sent down to Seattle. Magone Marine subcontracted with Ron Moore, who’s on-island doing other scrap metal clean-up, to take away what’s left of the ship. Moore plans to bring the empty shell of the vessel up onto shore in the next few days, and then cut it into pieces. Then the Bangun Perkasa will be no more.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Public Affairs Director Connie Barclay says completely scrapping the ship ensures it will never go back to illegal fishing.
NOAA wouldn’t disclose exactly how much they paid Magone Marine to dismantle the vessel, but owner Dan Magone told The Dutch Harbor Fisherman earlier this year that the contract was “several hundred thousand dollars.”
Barclay says the total cost of seizing the vessel, keeping it tied up at Magone’s for the better part of two years, and then scrapping it is estimated at $1.1 million.