The Coast Guard is working with the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security and local agencies to respond to a fire aboard a fishing vessel in the port of Pago Pago, America Samoa Wednesday.
The vessel was towed offshore to limit the impact to the port and residents of American Samoa.
Additional Coast Guard responders and resources are en route and will work with the port partners, local agencies, and the owner to further address the situation.
“Our primary concerns are the health and well being of residents and the safety of the Port in Pago Pago,” said Capt. Mike Long, commander Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, and captain of the port. “Attempts were made to fight the fire. As the fire burns, it begins to affect the material condition of the vessel. The joint decision was made with the port partners to remove the vessel from the port to protect commerce.”
The commercial fishing vessel Jeanette, a 228-foot purse seiner, caught fire while moored at the commercial cargo pier.
The Coast Guard was notified at 12:40 p.m. HST. Local firefighters took action to try to contain the fire.
As the fire continued to burn and expand, the joint decision was made to tow the vessel offshore to protect the health of residents, limit damage to the port and prevent disruption to commerce. The fire is expected to burn for several days.
A tug will remain on scene with the vessel.
“I applaud the efforts of the firefighters who worked all afternoon to contain the fire. We’re glad no one was injured. I want to thank our partners and our personnel stationed at the Marine Safety Detachment for coming together quickly to address this event and take action to limit the impact on residents and the port. We are vitally aware of how important the port is to commerce and the livelihoods of everyone living and working in American Samoa,” said Long.
The Coast Guard has received no reports of injuries or a release of any fuel into the water.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The vessel reportedly has a maximum fuel capacity of 90,000 gallons of diesel, however far less than that is anticipated aboard as the vessel recently returned from fishing.
The Jeanette is a U.S. flagged vessel built in 1975.
American Samoa is a collection of five islands in the South Pacific approximately 2,600 miles southwest of Honolulu. It is home to around 64,000 people and is an American Territory.
Tuna is a vital export from the South Pacific. The associated industries and services are a significant means of employment in the region.
The Coast Guard maintains oversight of the region and assists local agencies to enforce federal regulations with an emphasis on maritime commerce.
A four-person Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment is located in American Samoa.
Coast Guard vessels and aircraft crews visit several times a year while on patrol and to work local aids to navigation.