HONOLULU – Coast Guardsmen from several Honolulu-based units responded to a vessel on fire approximately 69 miles northwest of Maui, Wednesday evening.
Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received a mayday call from the commercial tug Phyllis Dunlap at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday. During a transit from Seattle to Honolulu, an engineer aboard reported hearing a fire alarm. It was reported the tug experienced a disabling engine room fire that resulted in a complete loss of propulsion. The captain activated the engine room’s fixed fire suppression system, which is believed to have extinguished the fire, at 2:30 p.m. All six crewmembers are reportedly safe and accounted for with no medical concerns.
Coast Guard aircrews aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter were launched from Air Station Barbers Point to assist at 2:05 p.m. The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island was diverted to render assistance at 2:28 p.m. A nearby vessel, the Mahi Mahi, was also requested to assist with the response. The Hercules crew arrived on scene at 3 p.m. and the Dolphin crew arrived on scene at 3:20 p.m.
The Galveston Island crew arrived at 9 p.m. After assessing the damage, the Phyllis Dunlap crew was advised to stay aboard their vessel. A Sause Brothers assist tug, Kokua, arrived and established a tow, at 10:15 p.m.
The Phyllis Dunlap crew is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday.
At the time of the fire, the Phyllis Dunlap crew was towing the barge Westward Trader, which collided with the tug when its engines were disabled. The damage to both tug and barge was superficial.