Salvage experts attempt to remove fishing vessel off Kaimana Bea - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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Salvage experts attempt to remove fishing vessel from Kaimana Beach

(Image: Coast Guard) (Image: Coast Guard)
(Image: Coast Guard) (Image: Coast Guard)
(Image: Coast Guard) (Image: Coast Guard)
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Department of Health is asking beachgoers to avoid swimming at Kaimana Beach as much as possible due to a 79-foot fishing vessel stuck on a reef off Waikiki.

The U.S. Coast Guard has established a safety zone of a 500-yard perimeter, and salvage experts will attempt to remove the vessel on Friday. 

The Pacific Paradise ran aground off Waikiki last Tuesday with 20 people on board. Nearly 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel and other debris was removed from the vessel and marine contaminants continue to be removed as well, the Coast Guard said.

Attempts to tow the vessel haven't worked — and were exacerbated by an hours-long blaze on board Saturday.

Meanwhile, federal immigration officials confirmed this week they're investigating the incident. 

"We don't know who they were, where they are — at least I don't know — and it raises the question of, 'Is this a human trafficking situation or something else that we need to deal with more aggressively,'” Bruce Anderson, administrator at state Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator.

Lawmakers have said the incident is a wake-up call, and some have called for more strict regulations of foreign fishermen on longline fleets. The U.S.-flagged Pacific Paradise is part of the Hawaii longline fishing fleet homeported in Honolulu, the Coast Guard said.

Because the vessel remains stuck, the damage to the reef hasn't been fully assessed. 

A 500-foot safety zone around the ship remains in place. 

Mobile users: Click here for more photos of the grounded vessel.

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