Response efforts continue into the weekend for Pacific Paradise

A responder welds on the deck of the Pacific Paradise of Kaimana Beach, Oahu, Nov. 17, 2017. Top-side welding and fabrication of the vessel by patching identified holes reinforces the watertight integrity of the vessel to be refloated and safely removed off the reef. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/released)

A responder welds on the deck of the Pacific Paradise of Kaimana Beach, Oahu, Nov. 17, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

 

HONOLULU — Work to prepare, refloat and remove the Pacific Paradise continued Friday off Kaimana Beach and will continue through the weekend.

Thursday responders continued top-side welding and fabrication of the vessel, patching identified holes to reinforce the watertight integrity of the vessel. Additionally, the connections points on the vessel to be used for the future towing evolution are being strengthened. Welding and patching operations will continue into the weekend.

“Improving the watertight envelope of the vessel by patching and reinforcing the hull and structure allows the team to then pump the water out of the vessel’s compartments. This is vital step in removing weight and recovering the necessary buoyancy to refloat the Pacific Paradise,” said Lt. Will Cotta, of the Coast Guard Salvage Engineering Response Team duty officer. “Once refloated, the vessel can be safely removed from the reef and towed offshore to the EPA approved disposal site.”

Sunday during low tide at approximately 11:40 a.m., helicopter operations are scheduled to take place in the vicinity of the Pacific Paradise as crews use a commercial helicopter to remove three to five 4 by 8-foot, quarter inch steel sheets. The sheets were aboard the vessel when it grounded and will be removed and transferred onto to the JW Barnes work barge to further reduce excess weight on the vessel.

The public may view these operations from the beach, but must remain outside the safety zone. Other aircraft and drones should also remain outside the safety zone so as not to interfere with the safe operation of the helicopter and removal of the steel sheets. A temporary flight restriction will be in place Sunday from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. in the vicinity of the vessel preventing aircraft and drones from flying lower than 1,000 feet.

Daily, instead of twice weekly, water samples are now being taken from the Waikiki Aquarium and tested using a fluorometer at Clean Islands Council. All samples have come back clean with no presence of petroleum hydrocarbons. Responders have not observed any sheening or marine wildlife in the vicinity of the vessel.

The site immediately around the vessel and the vessel itself are dangerous. The vessel is in a surf zone and the structure of the vessel is compromised. Non-response personnel should stay outside the 500-yard safety zone that remains in effect around the vessel. Advisory signs were posted at the entrances to Kaimana Beach as well as on the Pacific Paradise.

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