Update on vessel fire at Port of Tacoma property

Update: Feb. 22, 2021 at 7 p.m.

Via Washington State Department of Ecology:

The fire was declared officially extinguished at 1 p.m. today. 

Salvage teams continued to work on de-watering the vessel throughout the day, which improved the vessel list.  Vacuum trucks also remain on scene to remove water as necessary.

With the fire extinguished, smoke generation has ceased and the need for Community Air Monitoring is no longer present at this time. We will continue to have air monitoring resources on site in the event of a flare up, ammonia release, or diesel spill.

There remains no indication that the 48,500 gallons of diesel stored in on-board tanks has been released. Light oil sheen within the boomed area has decreased dramatically today. No sheening has been observed outside of the boomed area. On-water oil spill response vessels remain on the water and ready to respond.

Update: Feb. 21, 2021 at 8 p.m.

Via Washington State Department of Ecology:

The fire is declared “controlled” as of 2 p.m. There are still several smoldering fire locations that will need to be extinguished before the fire is declared “out.”

Heavy equipment and debris were removed from upper decks which continued to improve the vessel stability. Additional water has been removed from the upper decks. Vacuum trucks remain on scene to remove water as necessary. The list of the vessel has improved. 

Ecology continues air monitoring efforts, and all measurements remain within background levels.

There remains no indication that the 48,000 gallons of diesel stored in on-board tanks has been released. There is still light oil sheen within the boomed area around the vessel. No sheening has been observed outside of the boomed area.

Update: Feb. 20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Via Washington State Department of Ecology:

The fire is still burning in the interior of the vessel. However, responders have been able to enter the interior and significant fire suppression progress has been made in both the bow and stern of the vessel.

Tacoma Fire has demobilized all personnel from the incident and formally transferred command to Unified Command Consisting of Ecology, the USCG, and Trident/ECM.

De-watering efforts continue in order to not overload the vessel with water. Approximately 2,500 gallons of water was removed by vacuum truck today and additional vacuum trucks remain on scene to assist with removing water as necessary. With de-watering efforts, the vessel's listing has corrected. 

The ammonia remains on board the vessel and is an area not currently threatened by the fire. 

Community air monitoring continues. No chemicals of concern have been detected and particulate remains at background levels. With the reduced potential for air quality concerns, EPA's air monitoring resources are being released from the response.  Ecology has identical air monitoring capability on scene and will deploy these resources if necessary.

There is no indication that the 48,000 gallons of diesel stored in on-board tanks have been released. Light oil sheen within the boomed area around the vessel continues to be observed.  Frequent observations for oil sheen outside of the boomed area are being made by boat and drone and only minor sheening has been observed outside of the boomed area.  On-water oil spill response vessels remain on the water and ready to respond.

Update: Feb. 19, 2021 at 11 a.m.

The fire aboard the vessel is still burning and there is noticeable smoke. Infrared camera imaging from a drone indicates a number of hot spots toward the forward end of the vessel. Combustible material onboard such as dry goods, bedding, and furniture are likely the remaining fuel.

The Tacoma Fire Department and other responding agencies are advancing cautiously to ensure the safety of personnel while making certain the situation remains under control. Later today, a salvage team is expected to make entry in order to determine next steps.

No oil has been observed on the water, and there is no indication that the fuel tanks have been compromised. There is also no indication that the ammonia or chlorine tanks on board have been compromised.

Air monitoring continued through the night and will continue today. As with yesterday, no ammonia or chlorine was detected by air monitors overnight. Total particulates remain at background levels, which is consistent with monitoring results from yesterday.

Around midnight last night, the U.S. Coast Guard lifted the 1,500-yard safety zone as planned.

Update: Feb. 18, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Via Washington State Department of Ecology:

The fire is still burning at this time. The de-watering plan is being deploy with vacuum trucks to reduce the list and stabilize the vessel so that Tacoma Fire can safely continue fighting the fire in earnest. Drone observations are still detecting hotspots on the deck, but they are on a different part of the deck from where the hazardous substance tanks for chlorine and ammonia are stored. There is no indication that these storage tanks have been compromised.

The Coast Guard intends to maintain the 1,500-yard safety perimeter.

Commercial port traffic has been allowed to resume.

Air monitoring will continue this evening. No monitoring results have indicated action levels for toxics in the air.

See more updates on the Ecology's website.

Update: Feb. 18, 2021 at 3:30 p.m.

The Tacoma Fire Department and other responding agencies have made great progress over the past several hours. The fire is not entirely extinguished and smoke is still visible, but Tacoma Fire has lifted their shelter in place advisory for Northeast Tacoma.

The restriction for commercial traffic in the Hylebos and Blair waterways has been lifted. A 1,500-yard 'no-wake' zone is now in place for all marine traffic transiting the area.  

Ecology and EPA are sharing community air monitoring efforts. At this time, monitoring results have not indicated any actionable levels. Air monitoring will continue and can be viewed here.  

There continue to be no reports of injuries or damage to Port property as a result of this incident.

Update: Feb. 18, 2021 at 2:05 p.m.

As of approximately 1:30 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard lifted the vessel restriction for commercial traffic in the Hylebos and Blair waterways. 

Feb. 18, 2021 at 12:09 p.m.

A 233-foot fishing vessel, Aleutian Falcon, caught fire late Wednesday night. The vessel is docked at the Port of Tacoma’s Pier 25 near the mouth of the Hylebos Waterway.

Crews from Tacoma Fire Department, along with Tacoma Fireboat Destiny, responded to the fire and as of Thursday morning, Tacoma Fire is continuing to put out the fire from land and water.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and Washington State Department of Ecology are also on site, as is emergency responder Marine Spill Response Corporation.  

Ecology has set up air monitoring stations on Marine View Drive and Taylor Way.   

Responders have installed heavy-duty booms around the vessel to help minimize potential environmental impacts to the waterway. 

Marine traffic for large vessels in and out of the Blair and Hylebos waterways is on hold until at least this afternoon.  

No injuries have been reported at this time. There has been no damage to port property.

Incident updates from the Tacoma Fire Department can be found on their Twitter page, @TacomaFire. TFD’s latest reports say that: “This fire continues to burn but has been maintained to just the ship of origin. Crews have this fire well under control and the ammonia tanks that were of great concern have been continuously cooled and are intact at this time.”  “We would still recommend that if you encounter smoke from this incident near or around your residence, to shelter in place until it clears.” 

We appreciate the Tacoma Fire Department, along with the responding agencies, for their swift response.

We are continuing to monitor this incident and will provide more information as it becomes available.

Media contact:

253-428-8674