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May 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Boat fire leads to voluntary suspension of harvests at Whidbey Island shellfish farm

This 128-foot crab boat anchored off Whidbey Island burned and sank Sunday after being engulfed in flames late Saturday night. Officials with the nearby Penn Cover shellfish farm say they suspended harvest to confirm the safety of its products. (Photo by Jennifer Muzzall)

The Associated Press

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m. | WHIDBEY ISLAND — The PennCove Shellfish company has suspended harvests at Whidbey Island while clean-up crews stop a diesel sheen coming from a derelict vessel that burned and sank.

Penn Cove general manager Ian Jefferds says the harvest is suspended Monday to confirm the safety of its products. He says customers are being supplied from company shellfish beds at Quilcene.

State Health Department shellfish growing area manager Bob Woolrich says there’s no evidence of oil at the Whidbey shellfish beds. The state did not shut down operations; the owner did it as a precaution.

Jefferds says the company “dodged a bullet” and expects to soon resume harvests at Penn Cove.

The 128-foot derelict fishing boat caught fire Saturday and sank Sunday.

The state Ecology Department is overseeing the cleanup

Earlier post: The boat sunk around 6 p.m. 100 yards off the shoreline, said command duty officer Eric Cookson of the Coast Guard. Booms have been placed around the site, and salvage divers will go down to the boat tomorrow plug fuel vents and seal fuel tanks. State officials have suspended mussel harvesting in Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove until further notice, as a precaution.

A 128-foot boat anchored off Whidbey Island was still burning Sunday morning, after being totally engulfed in flames late Saturday night. Coast Guard and Island County responders continued to fight the blaze, said Coast Guard Ensign Nathan Clinger. There were no reports of injuries, and no indication anyone was onboard.

The fire was reported at 11:45 p.m. Saturday by a 911 call, Clinger said. The Deep Sea, a  fishing vessel that hasn’t been used in at least seven years, was in Penn Cove, on the island’s east side.

At one point, Island County firefighters stopped pouring water on the vessel, for fear it might sink.

An 87-foot Coast Guard vessel was on hand Sunday, helping to fight the fire, Clinger said. Responders also are standing by in case of fuel or chemical spills.  Officials have talked to the vessel’s owner.

 

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: Coast Guard, engulfed, fire

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