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NOAA Responds to Fishing Vessel Fire in Tacoma, Washington

Feb. 22, 2021 — Early on Feb. 18, 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard notified the NOAA scientific support coordinator for the region of a major vessel fire in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Washington. A fire had broken out shortly before midnight aboard the 233-foot Aleutian Falcon at Pier 25 in the Port of Tacoma. 

Smoking coming from a vessel.
Early on Feb. 18, 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard notified the NOAA scientific support coordinator for the region of a major vessel fire in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Washington. A fire had broken out shortly before midnight aboard the 233-foot Aleutian Falcon at Pier 25 in the Port of Tacoma. Image credit: NOAA.

The seafood processing vessel is owned by Trident Seafoods and used to process herring and salmon seasonally in Alaska. It has a potential fuel capacity of 107,000 gallons but approximately 50,000 gallons of diesel were believed to be onboard. The vessel also has hazardous materials on board, including approximately 9,800 pounds of ammonia and 200 pounds of chlorine. The fire damage has yet to be fully assessed, but according to local media reports, the company expects the vessel to be a total loss.

As of Friday, Feb. 19, the fire continued to burn and there was still smoke in the air. The plan for Friday is to safely fight the fire and continue to stabilize the vessel. Once those two objectives are achieved, the hazardous substances will be removed. Removing the fuel is also an objective, but a decision about when that may happen has not yet been made.

A response contractor has assumed the lead role for salvage and firefighting. On Friday, Tacoma Fire was still on scene directing those operations and positioned to provide backup. 

Air monitoring continues. With earlier monitoring results, there was no detection of ammonia or chlorine and particulate levels remain consistent with winter background levels.

NOAA continues to provide the Coast Guard with scientific support, including chemical hazards, weather, tides, and resources at risk.

Last updated Sunday, February 21, 2021 8:27pm PST