Spirit of Norfolk is burned out

The fire aboard harbour tour boat Spirit of Norfolk that forced the evacuation of the 108 people on board, including 89 children, eventually spread through the vessel and left it burned out above the main deck level.

The Spirit of Norfolk caught fire during the afternoon of June 7th while it was conducting an excursion for elementary school students just off Naval Station Norfolk. Passengers reported that the smoke and fire came from the direction of the engine room, and videos from the scene showed smoke emerging from the stern.

Passengers were moved them to the weather deck, and fireboats arrived shortly after to respond to the emergency.

A second excursion boat, the Victory Rover, was brought alongside and the passengers were transferred over safely in a mid-harbour STS transfer. Two crewmembers remained aboard Spirit of Norfolk as it was towed to a pier at the naval base.

The fire ultimately burned forward through the passenger compartments and up through the pilothouse.

On Wednesday, response crews set up a dewatering pump to begin removing firefighting water from within the hull. The pumped-out water is being stored in tanks in order to address any possible contamination and prevent pollution, and a barge arrived on Thursday to provide additional tank volume.

No pollution has been reported. The vessel was still smouldering as of Wednesday evening and the fire crews remained on scene to respond to any reignition.