Sunken Jeanette poses no threat to residents and the environment, says USCG
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Jeanette had no gasoline when it sank last Thursday morning, 17 miles south of Tutuila; but exactly how much ammonia and diesel was on board when the purse seiner went underwater is unclear.
These are the findings — so far — of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), which is currently investigating the cause of the fire that created a scare in the town area last Wednesday — and the sinking of the vessel the morning after.
Supervisor of the USCG American Samoa Marine Safety Detachment, Lt. Al Blaisdell confirmed to Samoa News yesterday that there will be no salvage attempt, and because any fuel that was on board the vessel when it sank — if released — would dissipate quickly, there is no threat to the residents and environment. Furthermore, there is no threat to navigation or fishing grounds.
Interviews have been conducted with the nearly two dozen crew members associated with the Jeanette, none of whom were onboard when the vessel went up in flames.
USCG pollution responders arrived last Thursday to assist with the investigation in what is considered a 'major marine casualty'.
The Jeanette, which has supplied fish for StarKist Samoa for years, burned at the Fagatogo Wharf last Wednesday. What presumably started as a small fire in one of the cabins turned into a blazing nightmare that resulted in the vessel having to be towed off shore.
Lt. Blaisdell said yesterday that the vessel potentially had 90,000 gallons of diesel, 300 gallons of gasoline, as much as 12,000 pounds of ammonia, and 13 metric tons of fish aboard; however, they are certain that the gasoline was all burnt up before the vessel sank.
The USCG is investigating the incident jointly with the National Transportation Safety Board.