Petersburg Pilot -


Petersburg vessel catches fire near Ketchikan


The Petersburg based commercial gillnet vessel Shelo caught fire on September 3 and was recently salvaged in Ketchikan.

The incident happened in Nakat Inlet. Ryan Erikson, Chief of Incident Management for the U.S. Coast Guard, said the coast guard wasn’t notified until after the fact.

“We know that it did catch fire and caught fire very rapidly,” Erikson said. “It pretty much burned itself out.”

Erikson said a Good Samaritan vessel assisted the Shelo crew. The Coast Guard arrived on the site about a week later to observe the scene.

Erickson said there were about 15 gallons of oily mix in the water and that the remaining diesel fuel on board likely washed away. Only the back end of the boat was observable at high tide.

“The front end just burnt off and went away,” Erikson said. “It looked like it was a pretty hot fire. It was more of a debris pick up.”

James Vandebunte is the owner of the Shelo according to Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission records. Erikson said the insurance company that covers the Shelo hired a salvage company for the vessel and it was brought by barge to Ketchikan.


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