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State, Coast Guard tracking huge debris field in Ka Iwi Channel

  • COURTESY DLNR

    The Coast Guard confirmed the presence of a debris field between Oahu and Molokai after passing through it Tuesday night, and broadcast a notice to mariners, advising them to exercise caution.

  • COURTESY DLNR

    The Coast Guard is warning mariners about a large marine debris field in the Ka Iwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu.

  • COURTESY DLNR

    A fisherman first reported the debris Saturday, which at the time was south of Koko Crater and stretched over two miles long,

The Coast Guard is advising all mariners to exercise caution after a large marine debris field was last observed in the Ka Iwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu.

A fisherman first reported the debris Saturday, which at the time was about 9.5 south of Koko Crater and stretched over two miles long, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The debris was last seen about 12 miles south of Oahu.

The fisherman said the field contained nets, ropes, buoys and crates, according to DLNR.

The Coast Guard confirmed the debris field after passing through it Tuesday night, and broadcast a notice to mariners, advising them to exercise caution.

“Based on our initial observations, this appears to be more of a weed line than a debris field, containing a 40-60-foot wooden pole with marine growth, plastic bags, weeds, and other assorted debris; nonetheless boaters need to be aware of it and avoid it,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Titchen of the Coast Guard.

The International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology is working with the Coast Guard to track the debris.

DLNR said there’s a possibility the debris could reach the west shore of Molokai.

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