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UH research ship returns safely after taking on water

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 1:58 a.m. HST, Jan 8, 2012

A University of Hawaii research vessel has made it back to port, a day after it began taking on water from a baseball-sized hole.

The Kilo Moana arrived at Honolulu Harbor about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, met with a salvage and rescue crew, and made its way to the University of Hawaii Marine Center at Pier 45 in Snug Harbor on Saturday afternoon, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Soto.

He said the vessel made its way along the west side of Oahu overnight, followed by the Coast Guard cutter Ahi. Coast Guard personnel were also on board the vessel to assist.

The 186-foot vessel began taking on about 400 gallons of water an hour Friday morning while about 60 miles north of Oahu, the Coast Guard said.

The hole appeared behind some pipes in the starboard hull of the catamaran and was difficult to reach, said Brian Taylor, dean of the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, on Friday. He said partial flooding in a compartment caused a pump to fail, and the Coast Guard was called for help. He said the crew was able to patch the hole and slow the leak. 

A Coast Guard airplane, helicopter, and three vessels responded and took seven water pumps to the Kilo Moana. The cutter Ahi stayed with the vessel while the other crews were called off.

Taylor said the boat’s 20 crewmembers and 20 passengers departed Thursday and were expected to go on a five-day journey to do studies and install instruments at the research location. No one was hurt.


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