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Trident's Alaska Seafood Processor Burns At Port Of Tacoma



A 233-foot floating processor owned by Trident Seafoods caught fire shortly before midnight Wednesday. The processor, Aleutian Falcon, was docked at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. 

Trident has said the vessel is a total loss, according to multiple news outlets. 

The Aleutian Falcon is one of Trident's two floating processors that operate in Alaska. According to the company's website, the processors follow herring from Southeast Alaska to Bristol Bay, and then operate in salmon fisheries throughout the summer. It can support 120 crewmembers.

The Coast Guard said in a news release that the vessel was still burning as of 2 p.m. PST Thursday afternoon. So far, no one has been injured. 

Tacoma Fire Department reported the fire. The department used water to fight the blaze from the pier and three other boats. 

In an update on Twitter, the department said the hull of the vessel is sound, and that it is working with Trident to start to remove the water to prevent it from sinking.

The ship also held ammonia, which is used to chill fish. The fire department said in its update that the ammonia tanks were "of great concern" but that they "have been continuously cooled and are intact at this time."

At 1 a.m., Coast Guard pollution responders arrived on scene, and four vessels from a spill response company contracted to address the situation arrived around 5 a.m.

Trident has not responded to phone calls or emails requesting comment as of this story. 

Trident has faced a number of challenges since the start of the year. A large COVID-19 outbreak at its huge processing plant on the remote Aleutian Island of Akutan has infected more than a third of its workforce and forced the plant to shut down in January, just as the lucrative winter fishing season kicked off.  

Just a week later, on Jan. 28, the virus hit another of the fishing giant's processing plants, this time aboard one of the corporation’s massive factory trawlers, the Island Enterprise, as it was arriving in Dutch Harbor. 

Hope McKenney is a public radio news director, reporter, producer and host based in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
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