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Burned crab boat sinks

A floating oil boom is the only evidence left on the surface of Penn Cove after a 128-foot derelict crab boat sank early Sunday evening. The boat had caught fire the day before. - Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times
A floating oil boom is the only evidence left on the surface of Penn Cove after a 128-foot derelict crab boat sank early Sunday evening. The boat had caught fire the day before.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

A 128-foot crab boat that caught fire late Saturday evening in Penn Cove sank Sunday.

The vessel went down around 6 p.m. and the entire event was witnessed by a television news crew who had just finished interviewing Penn Cove Shellfish owner Ian Jefferds on Madrona Way.

According to Jefferds, he had just left the interview and was in Coupeville when the reporters called him back to tell him that the boat had disappeared beneath the water in a cloud of steam.

"When the cloud went away, the boat was gone," Jefferds said.

The news crew reported that it took less than 15 minutes for the vessel to go down. All that can be seen now is the floating oil boom that surrounded the derelict vessel.

The Deep Sea caught fire around 11 p.m., Saturday. Fire boats had extinguished most of the flames on deck by 2:30 a.m. but fires continued to burn below. Fire fighting efforts were temporarily suspended due to fear of the boat sinking but resumed again in the morning.

A sheen of an unknown material was seen on the water and there was a concern of contamination at the mussel farm. As a precautionary measure, the farm suspended harvesting for the day, Jefferds said.

The depth in the area is 60 feet, said Jefferds, and it's hoped that the boat had little to no fuel on board. It's possible that the sheen seen on the surface was the result of deck water that came off the boat when it was hosed down by the fire boats.

"Hopefully all we have down there is a big piece of rusty steel," Jefferds said.

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