UPDATE 10:00 P.M.| Good Samaritan vessels helped evacuate 78 crew members from Arctic Storm Monday evening, while another 42 crew members are staying aboard to man the fishing boat, according to the Coast Guard. The evacuated crew members are being taken to Westport, Wash. by commercial fishing boats Northern Voyager, Golden Alaska, Sea Dawn and Excellence.
A tug boat is still en-route to tow the Arctic Storm vessel, which contains about 188,000 gallons of diesel fuel, to Aberdeen, the Coast Guard said. No pollution has been reported to be released into the ocean. The Coast Guard says it will continue to investigate the cause of the fire.
UPDATE 5:02 P.M.| The Coast Guard says the fire hasn’t injured anyone and is under control. The fishing boat crew was able to get the fire under control before Coast Guard teams arrived by using a chemical firefighting system, according to Coast Guard spokesman Nathan Littlejohn.
Littlejohn said it doesn’t look like the Arctic Storm is going to sink, but its 120-member crew will soon be transferred to a sister vessel. The Arctic Storm will be towed to Aberdeen.
The Arctic Storm is operated by Seattle-based Arctic Storm Management Group. The company’s website says its crews fish for Pacific Whiting off the coast of Washington and Oregon from the end of May through early June.
The Coast Guard is on its way to rescue about 120 people on a fishing boat burning 32 miles west of Grays Harbor.
Crew on the 314-foot Arctic Storm vessel reported an uncontrollable engine room fire at about 3:20 p.m., according to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has sent out rescue teams in two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Astoria and three 47-foot motor lifeboats.
The Coast Guard has issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert other boaters in the area of the Arctic Storm.
We’ll update this as more information becomes available.