Norton Sound still in San Diego Bay weeks after mysterious fire

Posted at 7:31 AM, Nov 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-11 10:31:21-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It's been more than a month since the big ship fire in San Diego Bay.

The flames are out but the boat is still there.

It's become a sort of "morbid tourist attraction." Tourists and locals stopping to take photos of the charred Norton Sound bobbing up and down in the bay.

RELATED: Multi-alarm fire erupts on fishing vessel docked in San Diego Bay

Restaurateur Melissa Moore was working just feet away when the ship mysteriously turned into a giant oven on Sept. 29. The smoke hung over Seaport Village sickening those nearby.

"As workers, we all started having headaches. We had to just leave," Moore recalled.

Now it's early November and many are wondering why the boat is still parked in front of the Greek Islands Cafe - which Moore's family owns.

RELATED: Questions remain after investigation into boat fire at San Diego Harbor

The Port of San Diego told 10News they were working with the U.S. Coast Guard to move the ship as soon as possible. Contractors were disposing of chemicals on board.

The Coast Guard cautioned there was no immediate leak or threat to the environment.

Where did the ship come from?...

10News learned the Norton Sound - which now has gaping holes in it - was originally owned by an American company in Seattle. It sailed into our bay in March.

A San Diego shipping agent found it a place to dock. And then it was sold to a company in Mexico.

Since the fire, a company employee has met with the Port and the Coast Guard at least once.

"I never did hear what was exactly in there," Moore said.

No cargo was listed on the paperwork. San Diego Fire-Rescue said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but there is currently no reason to suspect arson.

So what now?...

For now, the pier is locked off - which frustrates Moore.

"That is something people like to walk down," Moore said.

RELATED: Mystery surrounds fishing boat that erupted in fire on San Diego Bay

Structural engineers must inspect it, according to the Coast Guard, and said the owner may not be able to afford to pay for the Norton Sound's removal.

The Coast Guard is planning to use money from a special clean-up fund - paid for by a tax on oil refineries - to remove the ship. However, that may not happen for a few more weeks.

"The only positive thing is that people are still coming down here taking pictures.  (laughs)  other than that, they can take it away," Moore said.