In the wake of the devastating Kodiak Enterprise fishing boat fire, which burned for over a week in Tacoma, Washington, officials have now shifted their focus to the recovery phase. With the flames finally extinguished, the time has come to investigate the cause of the fire. However, before investigators can set foot on the vessel, several crucial steps need to be taken. This article delves into the current progress of the recovery efforts, outlining the tasks that must be completed, including the removal of water, chemicals, and potentially hazardous substances from the fishing boat.
The Road to Recovery
Despite the fire being extinguished, the 276-foot Kodiak Enterprise remains listing to one side. The firefighting efforts required copious amounts of water, leading to the vessel’s imbalance. Consequently, the primary objective at this stage is to dewater the boat and restore its stability. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier emphasized the importance of this task, stating, “Right now, the biggest priority is dewatering the vessel to right it.”
Clearing the Debris
In addition to water, there are other critical substances that need to be removed from the boat before investigators can begin their work. Among these substances are gas, oil, and potentially damaging chemicals. Strohmaier highlighted the presence of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and oil on board the vessel, amounting to an estimated total of over 40,000 gallons. To tackle this challenge, crews are employing a careful and methodical approach reminiscent of syphoning gas from a car, albeit on a larger scale. Vacuum trucks have been utilized to extract the fuel and oil, transferring them to secure storage tanks. This meticulous process ensures that the removal is conducted safely and minimizes the risk of any environmental impact.
Addressing Potential Hazards
While the firefighting efforts were underway, a concerning amount of approximately 19,000 pounds of freon was released into the air. Fortunately, officials have determined that this release does not pose an immediate threat. As a precautionary measure, booms have been deployed around the Trident Seafoods-owned vessel to contain any potential spills or leaks of the remaining oil and gas. These measures aim to safeguard the surrounding waterways from any further contamination.
The Path to Investigation
Once the boat has been completely cleared of water, gas, and oil, investigators will have the opportunity to step aboard and conduct a thorough examination. This critical phase will involve carefully inspecting various compartments to pinpoint the origin of the fire and understand its progression. The hope is to complete the dewatering process within the next few days, allowing the investigators to commence their walkthrough and shed light on the cause of this tragic incident.
Toward a Resolution
Given that the Kodiak Enterprise caught fire while moored, officials anticipate that the vessel will be towed away once the investigation concludes. Trident Seafoods, the owner of the boat, has yet to comment on the situation, leaving the logistics of the towing operation to be determined. As the recovery phase continues, the community awaits the findings of the investigation, hoping for closure and the opportunity to prevent similar incidents in the future.