Two whale watching boats destroyed by fire in Hualien County port

Two whale watching boats docked at a port in Hualien County were completely destroyed after a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning today, January 17.

The vessel “Sea Whale No.1” caught fire at around 3:30 am at Shiti Port in Fengbin Township. Coast Guard officers attempted to put out the fire using fire extinguishers, but were not able to bring the fire under control.

Hualien County Fire Department dispatched three vehicles and four personnel to the scene of the fire. However, by the time firefighters arrived the fire had spread to a second whale watching vessel, the “Sea Whale.”

Firefighters were unable to save the boats as flames were fanned by strong winds. Both boats burned to the waterline.

Shiti Port is known as the “birthplace of whale watching” in Taiwan, with the first whale watching tours launched in 1997, when the whale research vessel “Sea Whale” began to take tourists on board. Both boats destroyed in the fire were pioneers in the industry.

Financial losses from the fire are estimated to be in the vicinity of NT$60 million.

two whale watching boats on fire
Picture: Coast Guard Administration.
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