Grounded ship ready for removal, says Coast Guard
The Coast Guard said the removal of the grounded, 79-foot Pacific Paradise fishing vessel off the reef at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki is on track for this afternoon.
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The Coast Guard said the removal of the grounded,
79-foot Pacific Paradise fishing vessel off the reef at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki is on track for this afternoon.
In preparation, a team spent Friday morning
double-checking hatches and patching to make sure the vessel was watertight, according to Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Muir, with plans to level out the boat and have it afloat so
a towboat can take it away at today’s high tide at
about 3 p.m.
“It’s very slow,” she said of the overall process. “We don’t want to do it too quickly and make it worse.”
The Pacific Paradise’s owner, TWOL LLC, is footing the estimated $1 million for the fishing vessel’s removal with its insurance coverage. If there are additional costs necessary for the removal, Muir said, funds may be available from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund administered by the Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center.
“It may exceed that,” she said. “Until it’s complete, we won’t have a final figure.”
Once afloat, the boat needs to be shifted a little to the left to get it away from the reef, she said.
The fishing boat ran aground the night of Oct. 10 with 20 people — an American captain and 19 foreign workers — on board. Several initial attempts by a salvage company to remove the boat failed.
Two weeks ago a helicopter removed 16 sheets of steel from the boat to increase its buoyancy. Earlier this week crews patched an 18-inch crack in a forward bulkhead, said the Coast Guard, and pumped an oily water mix out of the port tank. An estimated 1,500 gallons of fuel could still be on the vessel.
On Wednesday a team of six divers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources also began assessing the reef for damage.
As a precautionary measure, Muir said oil response equipment has been placed aboard the JW Barnes work vessel, which belongs to the boat owner, and pre-staged at Waikiki Aquarium during final preparations.
The removal team plans to pump air into the compartments of the Pacific Paradise and fill the fishing vessel with a nontoxic foam for additional buoyancy prior to its removal, according to the Coast Guard. The towboat plans to take the fishing vessel to an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved disposal site
13 miles south of Oahu, where it will be sunk.
The Coast Guard is overseeing the removal and conducting an investigation into the cause of the Pacific Paradise’s grounding, said Muir, but it is too soon to say what the outcome of that might be.