Trident Seafoods Fish Trawler catches fire in Tacoma

The U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Tacoma Fire Department responded to a fire that broke out on the fishing vessel, Kodiak Enterprisewhile moored at Trident Seafoods on the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Washington.

The incident forced emergency shelter orders for nearby areas.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours of Saturday morning, had spread across the ship and was about 100 feet from the ship’s freon tanks, the Coast Guard said in an update Sunday.

The 276-foot Kodiak Enterprise is said to have an estimated 55,000 gallons of diesel and 19,000 pounds of freon on board. 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 designed to relieve pressure in emergency situations.

While freon can be toxic when inhaled in large quantities or in confined spaces, the release of freon into the atmosphere is not expected to pose any health and safety risks to the public.

As a precautionary measure, EPA has conducted aerial surveillance to assess air quality in surrounding areas, assisted by contractors from CTEH to further refine aerial surveillance capabilities.

To ensure public safety, the City of Tacoma Fire Department had issued a temporary protective order for the NE Tacoma, Browns Point, and Dash Point neighborhoods. People in those areas have been told to stay indoors and limit their exposure to smoke.

The Coast Guard has also closed the Hylebos waterway to all commercial and pleasure boat traffic via a Vessel Traffic Service special measure. The Coast Guard deployed them Coast Guard 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 to keep the public safe.”

Kodiak Enterprise is one of four large trawlers in the Trident Seafoods fishing/processing fleet. Each ship houses a processing plant under the fish deck employing more than 100 workers.

On Sunday, responders continued to battle the blaze by spraying the ship’s exterior with coolant spray.

There was no sign of marine pollution and rescuers had installed three layers of safety boom around the ship to protect the marine environment. As a precaution, the unified command used three gliders and three outrigger boats.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

“We would like 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 this Easter weekend.”

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