HONOLULU — The Coast Guard responded to a report of a sailboat on fire off Honolulu, Thursday.
A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu towed the vessel with five people aboard to Pier 38 in Honolulu.
Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center watchstanders received a report at 9 a.m. from patrons at Aloha Tower of the sailboat on fire about a mile off Sand Island.
The watchstanders immediately diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau’s smallboat crew, already underway in the harbor for training, and directed the launch of the station’s RB-M crew. Upon arrival the rescue crews assessed the situation and found the crew aboard the sailboat had put the fire out with an extinguisher. No injuries or pollution were reported.
“I am proud of my crew and how quickly we responded,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Leah Zieber, crewmember of Station Honolulu. “We arrived within 15 minutes. After ensuring the fire was extinguished and the crew was no longer in imminent danger we were able to safely tow the vessel and its five passengers back to shore.”
The Coast Guard advises all waterways users to take required emergency gear with them on their voyages to better respond to any situation that arises. Due to the fact the crew operates the sailboat as a commercial fishing vessel; the Coast Guard is assessing the damage to the vessel and investigating the cause of the fire.
“Having safety equipment aboard and knowing how to properly use it is crucial for all mariners, especially fishermen,” said Charlie Medlicott, commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator at the Coast Guard 14th District. “Fishing vessels do encounter problems and sink. Although our waters are warmer fishermen have a much higher chance of survival if they’ve taken a commercial fishing safety drill course and are prepared for the worst case scenario.”
Fishermen are reminded Coast Guard fishing vessel safety exams become mandatory for commercial fishing vessels that operate beyond 3 miles from shore after Oct. 15.