Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 23 Aug 2019 12am

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    Thursday, August 22, 2019-9:11:35P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Boat catches fire off Tinian

A 30-FOOT vessel named “Louisa Bell” caught fire in the waters off Tinian Tuesday morning.

The Tinian Department of Public Safety-Boating Safety Unit responded and rescued the vessel’s two passengers, DPS spokesman Dre Pangelinan said, adding that both are “OK.”

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The Louisa Bell was on its way back to Saipan when it caught fire on Tuesday morning.  Tinian DPS-Boating Safety photo

The U.S. Coast Guard, which was informed about the incident, advised Tinian DPS-Boating Safety to tow the burning vessel two miles out, and to monitor and let it sink on its own, Tinian DPS Resident Director Mathew Masga said.

As of 10:44 a.m. Tuesday, the vessel was 90 percent submerged near Goat Island, he added.

Tinian DPS had also advised other mariners to stay away from the sinking vessel.

“The vessel was on its way back to Saipan Tuesday morning when it caught fire,” Masga said.

The incident is still being investigated and the cause of fire is still undetermined, he added.

Tinian DPS-Boating Safety was dispatched at 7:25 a.m. and reached the burning vessel 15 minutes after the call.

“Responding units reported that its one passenger and the captain were safe,” Masga said.

The vessel’s captain is Mariano Lelurman and its owner is Cecilio Rauikiulipiy.

The vessel was used to transport goods from Saipan to Tinian and Rota. Its main customers are retail stores, Variety was told.

As of press time Tuesday night, Variety learned that the vessel was already fully submerged between Tinian’s Carolinas Point and Goat Island.