Cruise Yacht SAFARI SPIRIT, operated out of Juneau, AK, by American Safari Cruises, had been preparing for the upcoming tourist season at Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle. She is listed as a 91-foot luxury cruise yacht with a 12-passenger and 6-crew capacity, and was apparently scheduled to sail May 11. SAFARI SPIRIT is now a total loss.
According to reports, at about 1:00 this morning, American Safari CEO Dan Blanchard awoke in the stateroom of SAFARI SPIRIT to “popping noises.” He quickly alerted the ship engineer/mate, who was also on board, and they both escaped harm by shimmying down a mooring line. No one else was aboard. The Coast Guard, Seattle Fire Department, and Harbor Patrol all responded quickly, but SAFARI SPIRIT was enveloped in flame by the time firefighters arrived, and the fire continued to burn.
In the case of this stubborn fire, water that had previously been pumped onto the flames by firefighters had to be pumped off the burning boat before more water could be pumped on; when a boat is on fire, water which has been pumped onto a boat may weigh the boat down, causing it to list or even sink. Fire-suppressing foam was also used.
Fortunately, they were able to control the blaze from spreading to other boats, some of which were moved to safety by Harbor Patrol. No fuel leaks have been detected so far, although the Coast Guard has placed a protective boom around the vessel as a precaution, to contain debris and minimize pollution.