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The U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Tacoma Fire Department are continuing to resposd to a fire that broke out on the fishing vessel, Kodiak Enterprise, while moored at Trident Seafoods in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Washington.
The incident forced a shelter-in-place order to be put in place for nearby areas.
The fire, which started in the early hours of Saturday morning, had spread through the ship and was approximately 100 feet away from the vessel’s freon tanks, the Coast Guard said in an update Sunday.
The response was continuing as Monday afternoon.
The 276-foot Kodiak Enterprise is said to have an estimated 55,000 gallons of diesel and 19,000 pounds of freon onboard. The heat from the fire can cause pressure to build up in the freon tanks. However, the tanks have built-in heat-activated pressure relief valves that are designed to release pressure in emergency situations.
While freon can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities or in a confined space, the release of freon into the atmosphere is not expected to pose any health and safety risks to the public.
As a precautionary measure, the EPA has been conducting air monitoring to assess air quality in the surrounding areas, aided by contractors from CTEH to further refine air monitoring capabilities.
To ensure public safety, the City of Tacoma Fire Department had issued a temporary shelter-in-place order for NE Tacoma, Browns Point, and Dash Point neighborhoods. The order was lifted Monday following decreased smoke conditions. The EPA was still conducting air monitoring to assess the air quality for the safety of the public.
The Coast Guard has also closed the Hylebos Waterway for all commercial and recreational vessel traffic via a Vessel Traffic Service special measure. The Coast Guard has deployed the Coast Guard Cutter Osprey and Station Seattle to enforce the closure.
“The safety of the public and responders is our top priority,” said Coast Guard Capt. Youngmee Moon, the Federal On Scene Coordinator. “The unified command is working closely to leverage each agency’s capabilities to respond to this incident as effectively as possible and keep the public safe.”
Kodiak Enterprise is one of four large trawlers in Trident Seafoods’ catcher/processor fleet. Each vessel houses a processing plant below the fishing deck that employs more than 100 workers.
As of Sunday, responders were continuing to fight the fire by providing cooling spray to the exterior of the vessel.
There were no signs of maritime pollution, and responders had deployed three layers of containment boom around the vessel to protect the marine environment. The unified command deployed three skimmers and three boom boats as a precautionary measure.
The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.
“We want to thank everyone for their prompt response and support,” said Joe Bundrant, CEO of Trident Seafoods. “This has been a challenging containment issue and we appreciate the ongoing efforts over this Easter weekend.”
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