The fire broke out about 3 a.m., sending the 69-foot Triton II and the 40-foot Iris Marie up in flames. Firefighters worked for several hours, trying to control the flames and smoke coming from the vessels. The Iris Marie sank into the river well before sunrise and the Triton sank just before 8 a.m.
No injuries were reported, but Joe Floyd, the owner of the Iris Marie, said there were crew members on board when the fire erupted.
“They cranked up the generator in the engine room and the crew did that before I got here and went upstairs and were making coffee and all the sudden started smelling smoke,” Floyd said. “Something down there caught fire.”
The boats were docked at the Safe Harbor Marina near the Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant on Ocean Street. Floyd described what happened as a chain reaction, with the fire on his boat causing the second shrimping boat to catch fire.
“Well I’m, like, sick more for the other boat because it’s a lot more of an investment,” he said. “I just felt really bad because my boat caused somebody else’s boat, a nicer boat. I only had it about a week, so I just didn’t have time to make some repairs and check the wiring better and that sort of thing. But we could’ve been out at sea and (it) could’ve been a lot worse. So we thank God we weren’t."