Weather delays salvage efforts for grounded fishing vessel in Waikiki

Updated: Oct. 16, 2017 at 10:24 PM HST
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WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Coast Guard made another attempt Monday to remove a fishing vessel that's been stuck in shallow waters off Waikiki for about a week, but salvage efforts will be delayed again.

"We had the south swell come in so it is a safety concern," said Amanda Levasseur, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class. "As of right now, we will reassess after the winds die down on Wednesday and ideally resume tow operations Thursday."

Attempts to first remove the 79-foot Pacific Paradise vessel stopped Friday when the towline snapped.

Then on Saturday around 10 a.m. officials say gasoline from a dewatering pump splashed on hot surfaces starting a fire.

Crews worked to extinguish the flames all weekend. There were no injuries reported.

With the vessel in such bad shape, the Coast Guard couldn't say how the salvage team plans to remove the wreck going forward.

The company working to remove the vessel, Cates Marine Service, declined an interview.

Meantime, beachgoers are increasingly worried about environmental damage.

"Seems like it's been too long, way longer than we thought," said Eitan Waldinger. "It's not the most beautiful sight and it's kind of scary to go into the water."

"Since this happened, I did not go into the water here, I surf at Suicides and Diamond Head," said Shai Rosen. "I don't know what's going on here especially since it caught fire, it has to have some kind of leakage of something."

The Coast Guard confirmed about 200 gallons of diesel fuel has leaked from the ship.

Officials say no marine life has been harmed, but some environmentalist have their doubts.

"We just had a birthing monk seal on the beach there, so the marine life in the area is a total concern," said Rafael Bergstorm with Surfrider Foundation's Oahu chapter. "We are there to protect the beaches so people can use them recreationally and enjoy them, which is our lifestyle here in Hawaii, so the longer it sits there, the longer It becomes an access issue too because people should feel safe getting into the water."

The Coast Guard continues to enforce a 500-foot safety zone around the boat.

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