Fire breaks out on NOAA survey ship in the South Pacific

NOAA Ship Rainier underway. Photo courtesy NOAA
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A fire broke out on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) survey ship off American Samoa on Tuesday. The fire was quickly extinguished, and all 41 crew members are reported to be safe. The fire originated in the ship’s exhaust stacks, affecting its propulsion and other systems. NOAA immediately contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Defense for assistance. As of Wednesday afternoon, most of the ship’s systems have been restored, and it is now heading back to port in Pago Pago, American Samoa, with an estimated arrival time of Thursday evening.

NOAA’s Rainiera hydrographic survey vessel, which was commissioned in 1968 and based in Newport, Oregon, is part of the agency’s fleet of 15 research and survey vessels. These vessels are managed and operated by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) and represent the largest fleet of federal research vessels in the country.

NOAA stated that their primary goal is to ensure the safety of everyone on board and to bring the ship back to port as quickly as possible. The cause of the fire and any potential damages to the ship are currently unknown.

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