Family launches fundraiser to recover from shrimp boat fire

Two boats sunk after catching fire about 3 a.m. Tuesday at Safe Harbor Marina

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Days after a fire sank two boats in the St. Johns River, the family of the Triton set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the removal and recovery of the boat.

“I’d like to personally thank everybody for just the love and support,” said Christopher Thompson, the owner’s son. “My families very humble and grateful.”

The Thompson family told News4Jax they could face federal fines of $47,000 per day until the boat is removed from the water because of the potential environmental fallout in the river.

So far, there have been no reports of pollutants outside of the containment area surrounding the vessels, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

“It’s a tragic loss,” said Thompson. “It’s a huge financial loss for them. It’s terrible. And not only that, it’s out of anybody’s control. It’s an accident.”

The boat is owned by Eddie Thompson, a Mayport native, who started fishing as a young child. He is a fifth-generation commercial fisherman.

Christopher Thompson said his dad spent his retirement savings to buy the Triton and fix it up. He was almost finished when it caught fire.

According to a press release from the family, the boat was not insured “due to the complexity of today’s insurance underwriting, aging fiberglass commercial fishing vessels are essentially uninsurable.”

The 75-foot boat caught fire early Tuesday morning and sank in the St. Johns River. The family said the fire started on the Iris Marie shrimp boat nearby and spread to the Triton.

To help the family cover the cost of the boat’s removal and recovery, they’ve set up a GoFundMe page.

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