In the final installment of our series on on-board hazards, we'll look at dangers involved in working with refrigerants.
On the morning of June 24, , resulted in a fatality when Charles "Chuck" Baker, 82, of Auburn, Washington, was injured in the initial blast and ensuing leak of over fifty pounds of anhydrous ammonia aboard 80-foot F/V EIGIL B. EIGIL B was moored at Sitka Sound Seafoods in Sitka, AK, at the time. Mr. Baker was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle that day, but he died of his injuries the next day.
PACIFIC PRODUCER, a 169-foot steel-hulled fish processing vessel built in 1946, has been docked at Pier 2 in Kodiak for around two months, even though the City has requested the owner to remove it. On December 31, two crewmembers, who were living on board, fled the ship, reporting an ammonia leak. Kodiak and Coast Guard firefighters cleared the area during their investigation and closed all valves within the ammonia system.
Early the afternoon of July 6, the Coast Guard received a report from Dutch Harbor that there was an ammonia leak on board Seattle-based 353-foot pollock processor F/V EXCELLENCE. According to reports, EXCELLENCE had 20,500 pounds total of ammonia on board; this leak is believed to be emanating from a 5,000 pound tank. It's not known yet how much ammonia has escaped. At the time of that report, while EXCELLENCE was still moored at a cold storage dock, the Unalaska Fire Department marked out a 500-foot safety zone and tried to reduce the escaping ammonia vapors by spraying EXCELLENCE with water.
On Thursday, May 10, at 12:38 p.m., the Coast Guard received a call from F/V ALASKA JURIS, reporting an ammonia leak and the ammonia exposure of three crew members aboard. ALASKA JURIS was approximately 80 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska, at the time. The three men were airlifted from ALASKA JURIS by Coast Guard helicopter to Cold Bay, after which they were flown by Coast Guard airplane to Anchorage for medical care. Currently, the three are listed in good condition.