POSTED: 6:55 p.m. HST, Oct 6, 2011
A Honolulu-based Coast Guard cutter is taking about 36,000 gallons of drinking water to the island nation of Tokelau, which is experiencing a severe drought, the Coast Guard said.
The Walnut was on a routine patrol to service ocean-borne aids to navigation when it got the call to help the 1,500 residents of Tokelau. The ship went to American Samoa to pick up a seven-person needs assessment team from New Zealand and began the trip to Tokelau.
The Walnut was expected to reach Tokelau early Friday morning.
Tokelau is about 300 miles north of Samoa, and is about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand.
"We are a military service whose mission is multi-operational," Walnut skipper Lt. Cmdr. Brian Huff said in a news release. "Not only do we service aids to navigation, perform search and rescue and law enforcement, we also have the capability to respond to humanitarian missions."