Fire Subsides Aboard Trawler Kodiak Enterprise

Kodiak Enterprise burned out
Courtesy USCG

Published Apr 11, 2023 9:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Firefighters have begun the process of knocking down the last remaining pockets of fire aboard the factory trawler Kodiak Enterprise, which caught fire at a pier in Tacoma early Saturday. 

The fire burned through most of the vessel by Monday and decreased further in size on Tuesday, according to the unified command managing the response. The blaze has subsided enough that the Tacoma Fire Department green-lighted operations to access the ship's interior and begin extinguishing any remaining hot spots. 

Shelter-in-place orders for downwind neighborhoods have been lifted, and air testing suggests that particulate matter is no longer a concern. 

In addition, the vessel's freon refrigerant tanks have been inspected and have been found empty. The Kodiak Enterprise was carrying about 19,000 pounds of freon, and the heat of the fire was expected to cause pressure in the tanks to rise. The tanks were fitted with safety release valves, and the responders believe that they slowly vented off the tank contents into the atmosphere, without any health and safety risks. 

The vessel still has a pronounced list to port, but dewatering operations are under way to restore full stability. A dive inspection on Tuesday found that the ship is intact below the waterline, dispelling earlier concerns that she might be taking on water. As a precautionary measure, the dive team plugged her water intakes. 

Images courtesy USCG

A light sheen was spotted around the vessel Tuesday morning, located within the three layers of boom that responders have deployed to control any potential pollution. The sheen was too thin to recover, according to the Coast Guard, but if any larger release should occur, skimming boats and response crews are standing by. 

The Kodiak Enterprise had recently returned from "A" season in the Bering Sea and was undergoing a maintenance period in Tacoma, according to her operator. Only three engineers were aboard the vessel on the night of the fire, and they were evacuated safely. Four firefighters reportedly sustained injuries during an initial attack on the fire.

The blaze aboard Kodiak Enterprise is the second to affect a Trident Seafoods fishing vessel in two years. In February 2021, the Trident fish processor Aleutian Falcon caught fire at a shipyard in Tacoma during maintenance work.