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Matson cargo ship stalled 550 miles from Hawaii

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The Matson, Inc., container ship Matsonia moored at Pier 2 in Honolulu Harbor in 2012.

A Matson ship that was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu this morning is stalled 550 miles north of Hawaii. 

A problem in the engine room cut off power on the cargo ship, Matsonia, and engineers onboard are working to restore power, said Matson spokesman Jeff Hull. 

There are 21 people on board the vessel that was traveling from Oakland, Calif.

“We have experienced engineers on ship at all times capable of doing repair work,” he said. “So far they have been unsuccessful in repairing the problem in the engine room so there’s no power.”

There is an emergency generator to keep the lights on for the crew “but the ship doesn’t have enough power to get back on its own until the problem is resolved,” he said, adding that a tug boat has been dispatched should the ship need to be towed back to the islands. 

“If they’re able to rectify the problem, the ship could be underway and be back in port tomorrow,” Hull said. If it has to be towed, there could be a delay of five to six days, Matson said in a letter to customers.

Matson will honor claims for perishables lost as a result of this incident, Hull said.

Meanwhile, a tropical depression east of Hawaii is expected to grow into a tropical storm Wednesday, but forecasters say the storm is not likely to become a hurricane and should pass north of the islands this weekend.

These ships are designed to withstand high seas trans-Pacific storms. They have to go through storms (all the time),” he said. “It’s a big container ship. Weather is not the concern.”

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