Spilled fuel, hundreds of hooks in Waikiki waters as boat remains stuck
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 42-foot commercial fishing boat Pacific Paradise ran aground at Kaimana Beach on October 10th. Over a month later, it's still there.
Officials said 20 people were onboard the longline fishing vessel when ran aground on the reef. An attempt to pull it off caused more coral damage.
Now, the Coast Guard estimates the salvage job could cost one million dollars.
"As far as we know at this point, the responsible party's insurance company is gonna cover the full cost of this response. If they are unable, the Coast Guard is poised and ready to step forward and fund the rest of this pollution response operation," said Coast Guard Capt. Michael Long.
Long said the money would come from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that was set up after the Exxon Valdez disaster.
The Coast Guard said the Pacific Paradise has spilled about 100 gallons of diesel fuel. But now a new hazard: hundreds of fish hooks are in the ocean.
"DLNR actually hasn't been in the water to assess the fish hooks. We've been waiting for the vessel to be removed before we can do any sort of follow-up surveys," said Brian Nielsen with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
"But we have seen the photos, and like others, we would like to see those removed as soon as possible to reduce at risk to wildlife or people," Nielsen said.
The Coast Guard says it is hoping to have the vessel removed in two and a half weeks given there are no weather delays.
"Over the weekend there was efforts to remove the fish hooks. But again, that is part of the removal effort. Once the vessel is gone, is to do a complete assessment of the reef and remove every single fish hook that came off the Pacific Paradise," said Capt. Long.
The Coast Guard said it doesn't want to do more damage by rushing the salvage.
"What makes this especially challenging is its location. It's located on a reef, with environmentally sensitive areas all around it, the aquarium, monk seal nesting areas right down town off of Waikiki Beach," said Capt. Michael Long.
The Coast Guard says to keep people away from the wreck they will assign people 24-hours a day to enforce the 500-yard safety zone.
It's current plan is to patch up the holes in the boat, then tow it to disposal site approximately 13 nautical miles south of Waikiki.
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