Manaloa crew remembers fellow sailor killed in boat fire

Barry Nantara
Barry Nantara
Stiban Eseli
Stiban Eseli
Nelson Lynch
Nelson Lynch

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

IWILEI (KHNL) - Friends and family gathered on Monday to remember a fellow crew member who was killed in a boat fire.

It happened Saturday night at a harbor on Oahu.

Crew members gave their account of what went wrong.

They say they just came back from a fishing tour, and caught 18,000 pounds of ahi.

They went to celebrate, only to find the night ending in tragedy.

Flames incinerating the Manaloa, caught on home video by a crew member aboard a neighboring boat.

The Saturday night fire at Pier 38 in Iwilei, killed Ioanis Vicente of Micronesia.

In the scorched kitchen is where Vicente lost his life.

"He was trapped inside and he couldn't get the door, he tried to get the door from inside but he panicked and he was screaming to him and said help help," said Barry Nantara, a crew member.

Vicente's tech boss, Stiban Eseli, says he tried to save him, but firefighters had him jump off the burning boat.

"If they didn't stop me, I could save him. I can do what I can do but they stopped me, held my hands like this. They didn't want me to come onto the boat. I told them I don't care about the boat, I care about the life," said Eseli.

"A couple minutes later, we couldn't hear him. He stopped screaming," said Nantara.

It took 15 minutes for firefighters to control the flames. By the time they got to Vicente, it was too late.

Fellow crew members say Vicente was out with them at a bar, when he decided to split and come back to the Manaloa, to prepare food for them.

"He cooked food and he come sleep over here. That's his bunk bed. He fell asleep," said Nantara.

Nantara says Vicente forgot to turn off the stove.

"There's so many combustible materials on a boat, and the foam the insulation," said Nelson Lynch, a captain of a neighboring boat.

In the aftermath, crew members gathered to remember one of their own. Though not related by blood, they say Vicente was family.

"He's one of my good friends, my promise brother. I took him in as my brother," said Nantara.

A nephew says Vicente lived on Oahu the last few years, but most of his immediate family is in Micronesia.

Loved ones remember Vicente as an amazing cook, and a fun-loving clown who always went out of his way to take care of friends and family.