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Pacific Producer Ammonia Release

Site Contact:
Brooks Stanfield, Brad Martin
On Scene Coordinator

(stanfield.brooks@epa.gov, martin.bradley@epa.gov)

Site Location:
401 E 15th St
Tacoma, WA 98421
NRC#: 1376118

On August 16, 2023, the US Coast Guard (USCG) notified EPA that the F/V PACIFIC PRODUCER (US Flagged, Fish Processor, IMO 5111244) near the Port of Tacoma was leaking ammonia. The vessel is located on Tacoma's Thea Foss waterway within Commencement Bay and is adjacent to the City's heavily populated downtown waterfront area.  The vessel has approximately 4,000 pounds of ammonia gas stored on board. USCG and Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) initially responded to the incident, with contractors entering the vessel in attempt to prevent the release of ammonia into the environment.  The ammonia was escaping from an eroded pipe in the interior of the vessel however and crews were unable to secure the source of ammonia. The interior of the vessel and the hatches of the vessel were secured and offloading of the remaining product was planned for the week of August 21, 2023.

On August 22, 2023, EPA was notified that changing conditions within the vessel required prompt offloading of the ammonia by USCG contractors. Air monitoring assistance was requested by USCG and Ecology due to high concentrations of ammonia being detected on the vessel and the proximity of the vessel to a residential area.  EPA began Community Air Monitoring operations at 1830h on August 22, 2023.