The Hampton Roads-area landmark cruise boat, Spirit of Norfolk has finally been towed to a shipyard, where investigators will try to determine the cause of the fire that broke out with 89 children aboard.
The Coast Guard said Sunday afternoon that salvage crews completed the tow of Spirit of Norfolk to Colonna’s Shipyard. Next, USCG and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate while it is on the hard.
This Coast Guard video shows the slow tow process on the badly-damaged vessel:
Thankfully, there was no noticeable pollution as a result of the fire. The flames started Tuesday, June 7 around noon in the engine room of the boat, which offers dinner cruises and excursions for private and school groups.
As Bay Bulletin reported, all 108 people aboard, including a field trip of 89 kids, were able get safely off the boat thanks to a major effort by the crew, Naval Station Norfolk, the Coast Guard, and fire departments from all the cities of Hampton Roads.
Once it was moved to a Naval Station Norfolk pier, it took nearly four days for the fire to be fully extinguished. The boat was still smoldering and crews had to stay on site around the clock to make sure the fire didn’t reignite.
Because it took so much water and foam to put the fire out, the Spirit of Norfolk had to be dewatered using a pump and a barge to store the contaminated water.
Once it was safe for crews to come aboard and verify the fire was fully extinguished, two boats towed the vessel to the shipyard, escorted by the Coast Guard.
Spirit of Norfolk must request permission from the Captain of the Port for any future movement. City Cruises is still deciding what will become of the cruise boat from here.
-Meg Walburn Viviano