Mussel harvesting was suspended until further notice in Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove in Washington State after a 128-foot derelict fishing vessel anchored there burst into flames and later sank, officials said. The fishing boat Deep Sea caught fire May 12 and continued burning into May 13, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. It sank May 13 as the Coast Guard was preparing to inspect it and see if it could be towed out of Penn Cove, which is known around the world for the quality of its mussels and shellfish.
An official with the State Department of Ecology said the mussel farm operations were suspended as a precaution while investigators make certain no pollution reached the mussel pens from the vessel. The investigation was being conducted by the State Health Department, he said.