UPDATE: Penn Cove derelict vessel burns and sinks

No matter the cost, the 128-foot crab boat that caught fire and then sank in Penn Cove this weekend will be raised and removed, according to officials with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Toni Droscher, spokeswoman for the agency, confirmed that the huge steel fishing vessel is not too big to pluck from the bottom, but it will be expensive and it’s a cost that will initially be borne by taxpayers.

“We will get that boat out of there,” Droscher said. “We have to protect the resource.”

The Deep Sea, which has been illegally anchored in Penn Cove for months, caught fire late Saturday evening. The blaze raged unchecked for about two hours before fireboats from Camano Island Fire and Rescue and the U.S Coast Guard arrived and began hitting the vessel with water.

Flames on deck had largely been extinguished by 2:30 a.m. Sunday but fires continued to burn below. Fire fighting efforts had to be temporarily suspended due to fear of the boat sinking but resumed again at daylight.

At about 6 p.m., about 19 hours after it first caught fire, the vessel finally succumbed and sank in about 60 feet of water just outside Penn Cove Shellfish’s mussel rafts.


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