Efforts fail (again) to pull fishing vessel off reef at Kaimana Beach

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been a week and a half since the Pacific Paradise ran aground on the reef off Kaimana Beach in Waikiki. And it will be yet another day before the 79-foot fishing vessel can be pulled back into open water.

The boat has been stuck since the night of October 10, when it ran aground with its captain and 19 fishermen aboard. A salvage company hired by the boat's owners attached an eight-inch plasma towline and chain to the pacific Paradise, and then a 5,000 horsepower tugboat tried to pull it free.

"It looks like they're pulling it toward the wind sock, towards Diamond Head, which is where I think the more open water is," said Eric Everett, who snorkels at the beach regularly.

The tug made several attempts, with the tow lines sending spray into the air. The Pacific Paradise turned just a little left from its original position, but not much more.

"I think it's been pushed so far in, it's in the inner reef and it's going to be really tough to pull it off," said Everett.

There's still some 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, according to the Coast Guard. The vessel has also been listing since it caught fire last Saturday, grounding it fast on the reef.

"Since the fire and everything it's not longer lively, it's no longer moving. So we're really trying to move, basically, dead weight at this point," said Michael MacDonald, Director of Foss Marine and Commercial's Hawaii Region.

The Coast Guard closely monitored the operation both off- and onshore. "Our Coast Guard teams will reassess with all our partners this weekend to prepare future removal plans," said Capt. Michael Long, commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.

Those plans may include another attempt during Saturday afternoon's high tide.

"All of us who use this beach all the time will be thrilled when it's gone," said another Kaimana Beach regular, Linda Peterson.

The Coast Guard is still maintaining a 500-yard safety zone around the vessel.

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