Coast Guard responds to vessel taking on water off Maui, part of busy maritime weekend

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester)

HONOLULU — Coast Guard Station Maui personnel responded to a report of a commercial vessel with 21 people aboard taking on water off Maui Sunday.

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew arrived on scene five miles south of Maalaea and verified the crew of the 43-foot Maka Koa had the situation in hand before escorting the vessel back to port.

It was determined the vessel was taking on water around their shaft and has since been removed from the water to receive repairs and inspections before returning to service.

“The Maka Koa crew was very professional and effective in their casualty response,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester, a crewman aboard the Station Maui RB-M. “Upon arrival we confirmed the vessel’s installed bilge pumps were keeping up with the leak and provided a standby until they reached port. We applaud the operators quick action identifying the problem and alerting us to what could have become a more severe case.”

Coast Guard crews responded to eight search and rescue and marine safety cases between Friday and Sunday.

Friday, the Coast Guard responded to a possible hoax call resulting from an email sent by a member of the public seeking employment with the Coast Guard. The individual ultimately apologized for the action. No Coast Guard assets were launched for the case. The public is reminded that hoax calls are against the law and can divert resources from necessary search and rescue or other operations. Those found guilty of committing a hoax call may receive fines or jail time.

Also, Friday the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky a mile south of Honolulu. As a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations the Galveston Island crew terminated the crew’s voyage and escorted the vessel to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by personnel from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu to address all discrepancies are ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Coast Guard marine investigators in Maui are responding to the reported death of a diver Friday. The operator of a commercial vessel notified the Coast Guard of the incident involving a middle-aged man who became distressed while conducting a night dive off Big Island. The crew of the vessel recovered the man and contacted emergency medical services who met them at Honokohau Marina. He was transferred to Kona Hospital. Hawaii is home to 340 small passenger vessels, 139 of which support snorkel and dive operations. Such incidents are reportable marine casualties under the Code of Federal Regulations and after addressing the immediate issue the master is required to notify the Coast Guard.

Saturday crews from Station Maui and the Maui Fire Department responded to a report of an adrift pool toy 200-yards off Kaanapali. The toy was located and recovered. Maui Fire Department resources and a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin crew conducted searches in the area to ensure no one was in distress. The case was closed.

Also, Saturday the crew of the Galveston Island conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Jennifer Lynn near Honolulu. The crew’s voyage was terminated and they were escorted back to port as a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will address all discrepancies and ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Sunday crews in Kauai responded to a report of an overdue vessel. It was reported that a 26-yeear-old man had departed Mahaulepa Beach Saturday to fish and failed to return. Coast Guard Station Kauai, Air Station Barbers Point and the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336) were launched to respond. Kauai Fire Department personnel also searched. Shortly after launching assets Kauai police located the man ashore and well in Ahukini Park.

Also Sunday, the Coast Guard received notification of a 60-year-old Japanese citizen who experienced symptoms of a heart attack while snorkeling off a commercial vessel on the west side of Oahu. The man was transferred to shore and met by emergency medical personnel who took him to Queen’s Medical Center. Again, such incidents are not uncommon and the operators of commercial vessels report occurrences to the Coast Guard in line with the requirements for inspected commercial vessels. Coast Guard investigators from Sector Honolulu are reviewing the case.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to meet and maintain safety requirements and plan ahead for voyages. At the first sign of distress contact the Coast Guard.

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