Coast Guard buoy tender assists disabled vessel off Hilo, Hawaii

HILO, Hawaii– At approximately 12:40 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2009, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kukui received a radio call from a vessel requiring assistance in the vicinity of Hilo Harbor on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The buoy tender was diverted from work on the west side of the island in Kailua, Kona and responded to the 25-foot vessel with five adults aboard.

The master of the vessel reported the engine had stalled and they been drifting for some time approximately three nautical miles south-southeast of Hilo Harbor in swells of five to six feet and 11-knot winds.

The Kukui small boat was launched and towed the vessel to a point outside the harbor to meet the Hawaii County Fire Department. However, conditions were too rough for HCFD to safely take the tow, so the KUK II, Kukui’s small boat, towed the vessel back into the harbor.

The Kukui’s boat crew consisted of Chief Petty Officer Paul Bertram, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kalanikapu Kane, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Noreikas.

The vessel’s owner/operator said he was very appreciative of the Coast Guard. The Kukui crew is currently working aids to navigation on the Big Island.

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