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Accident Report Detail

Marine Accident Brief: Fire and Sinking of Fishing Vessel Ole Betts Sea

Executive Summary

​About 0615 local time on March 18, 2018, a fire broke out in the engine room of the commercial fishing vessel Ole Betts Sea while it was trawling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Unable to contain the fire, the crew of three abandoned the vessel to a liferaft about an hour later and were rescued by a Good Samaritan vessel. After burning for about 16 hours, the vessel sank approximately 18 miles northeast of the island of Garden Key, Dry Tortugas, Florida. No pollution or injuries were reported. The vessel was a total loss valued at $200,000.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the fire and sinking of fishing vessel Ole Betts Sea was a mechanical failure of the generator’s diesel engine, which led to a fuel-fed fire that burned out of control.

Accident Location: Garden Key , FL USA Gulf of Mexico, 18 nautical miles northeast of Garden Key, Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys
Accident Date: 3/18/2018
Accident ID: DCA18FM018

Date Adopted: 3/26/2019
NTSB Number: MAB1905
NTIS Number:  

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