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Tank cleaners overcome by fumes at Atlantic Sapphire

Atlantic Sapphire is building a massive salmon RAS facility in Florida. Photo: Atlantic Sapphire.
Atlantic Sapphire is building a massive salmon RAS facility in Florida. Photo: Atlantic Sapphire.

Three people were yesterday reported to be in a serious condition in hospital after being overcome by fumes in a large fish tank at on-land salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire’s “Bluehouse” recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Miami, Florida, US.

CBSMiami reported Miami-Dade fire chief Jason Richard as saying: “They were in there in one of these tanks used to raise fish for routine maintenance and there was some type of fume released and they were overcome by it.”

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said other workers were able to pull them out. The US labour department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and police are investigating the incident.

Promptly extracted

In a statement released today, Atlantic Sapphire chief executive Johan Andreassen said: “At approximately 11:30 am EST on April 13, 2021, an incident occurred at Atlantic Sapphire’s Homestead facility involving three workers from one of the Company's sub-contractors that were cleaning a tank in one of the growout systems.

“The workers were promptly extracted from the facility and given medical attention. The workers involved in the incident have been transported to a local hospital and are receiving medical attention.

“As the incident happened in a growout system that was not in use, there was no impact on farming operations.

Thorough investigation

“The safety of everyone working on site is Atlantic Sapphire’s greatest priority and a thorough investigation is ongoing. Our thoughts are with the people involved and their loved ones, and we're hoping for a quick recovery. 

“The Company does not have any further details at this time.”

Norwegian-owned Atlantic Sapphire is building the world’s largest on-land salmon farm at the site, with the aim of producing 220,000 annually by 2030.