Unified Command continues response efforts, finds missing pets deceased

Passengers aboard the 561-foot Caribbean Fantasy ferry vessel use the marine escape system to awaiting lift rafts as they abandon the vessel a mile from San Juan Harbor, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. The Caribbean Fantasy had a fire start in the engine room that spread to other compartments forcing passengers and crew to abandon the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station San Juan, Puerto Rico.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Salvage and fire fighting teams boarded the 561-foot passenger ferry vessel Caribbean Fantasy Friday morning and located the two missing pets deceased near the vessels disembarkation area.

The owners of the pets were notified in person this morning at Coast Guard Sector San Juan. The remains of both dogs have been brought ashore. All of the animals on the ship’s manifest have now been accounted for.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the owners of the pets for their loss,” said Capt. Robert Warren, the incident commander of the response. “Many of us are also pet owners who love our animals and consider them part of our family.”

The salvage and fire fighting teams on board are also assessing damage and the stability of the vessel. The fire is reported to still be active and mostly contained in the vessel’s engine room.

Dive teams are being coordinated to inspect the hull of the vessel for damage.

Ardent Global is working to finalize a vessel salvage and towing plan.

Salvage and fire fighting teams that boarded the vessel Thursday around 5 p.m. found no sign of the pets. The teams were able to close some of the fire dampeners for the engine room to assist in the containment of the fire.

The Coast Guard has established a 1,000-yard safety zone around the vessel. There are no reports of sheening or pollution around the vessel at this time. The vessel is being closely monitored and booming has been deployed at the intakes for the Palo Seco Power Plant as a precautionary measure against potential discharge from the vessel. There has also been 14,000-feet of booming pre-staged near Punta Salinas.

The Caribbean Fantasy Response Unified Command consists of the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and Baja Ferries (owner of the Caribbean Fantasy).

Also assisting the response efforts are the American Cruise Ferries, Ardent Global, the Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the National Response Corporation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Witt O’Brien’s, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rico Fire Department.

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