Years of ‘disgusting, dangerous’ conditions on derelict Tacoma boat before recent ammonia leak

TACOMA, Wash. — The Coast Guard is working to control dangerous fumes from an ammonia leak coming from a 80-year-old ship moored in Tacoma’s Foss Waterway.

The leak on the Pacific Producer was first reported on Aug. 13 and has been slowed to half of the original rate.

On Tuesday night, crews began injecting carbon dioxide into the ship to help neutralize the ammonia as the back of the boat began to sink further below the water line.

On Wednesday, they were working to determine the best way to remove the ammonia from the ship’s leaking tanks.

A scathing report from the U.S. Department of Labor also shows this isn’t this ship’s first ammonia leak. The Pacific Producer had another back in 2018.

“For more than a decade, our inspectors have found disgusting and dangerous conditions aboard the F/V Pacific Producer,” the report said.

The Coast Guard said there is no immediate threat to the public, according to The Maritime Executive.

The boat has been in the waterway for more than a year after racking up a long list of serious pollution and safety violations. The owner of the 472-ton seafood processing ship was fined $50,000 in 2017.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that in 2012, 2014 and 2018, inspectors also found violations in connection with sanitation, electrical and fire hazards.

Officials say that the boat is not yet safe but that progress is being made to stop the leak.