Friday, February 23, 2018
Public safety

Divers try to measure fuel remaining in burned Tarpon shrimp boat

Environmental workers have skimmed all of the diesel fuel they can from the surface of the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs following a large boat fire Tuesday, and divers are now trying to determine how much fuel remains in the hold of the 85-foot Skye Marie, the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday.

SWS Environmental Services has collected about 4,900 gallons of diesel-contaminated water around the Skye Marie, which was anchored at the Chevron fuel depot at Tarpon's Sponge Docks around 11 p.m. Tuesday when flames began shooting out of the boat's cabin.

The boat had just been filled with 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, for a total of 6,000 gallons onboard. It took firefighters hours to extinguish the blaze, which also spread across the water and ignited a dock on the north bank.

Environmental impacts appear to be minimal, and no effects on wildlife had been reported by Friday afternoon, according to a news release from the Coast Guard, which is urging boaters to be cautious going through the area.

"I want to thank the public and local mariners for their patience during this cleanup," said Chief Petty Officer Jennifer Thomas, the federal on-scene coordinator representative from Sector St. Petersburg's Incident Management Division. "Please continue to monitor the broadcasts to mariners and exercise extreme caution when transiting the area near the Skye Marie, especially now that divers may be below."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Reach Danielle Paquette at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.

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