Work to repair interior bulkhead of Pacific Paradise proceeding off Oahu

Responders continue work to salvage the commercial fishing vessel Pacific Paradise still grounded just off Kaimana Beach on Oahu, Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Sector Honolulu/Released)

Responders continue work to salvage the  Pacific Paradise still grounded just off Kaimana Beach on Oahu, Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Sector Honolulu)

HONOLULU—The response team is continuing work aboard the Pacific Paradise to repair a bulkhead between the fish hold and the engine room essential to watertight integrity, Tuesday off Kaimana Beach.

“It’s a challenging space to work in and we needed a little more time to make sure the new patch is fully installed,” said Todd Duke, project manager with Resolve Marine. “We’re taking extra measures to ensure the integrity of this robust patch.”

Responders are installing a 5-foot by 6-foot metal plate against the existing bulkhead with gasket material around it to ensure a stronger seal and dogging it down with metal posts and wing nuts to add additional pressure. Adding further complexity, all of this work is taking place underwater as the fish hold cannot be pumped dry until the patch is in place.

The original plate that failed appears to be the result of engine work done some time in the past. A hole was cut in the bulkhead to allow the removal and repair of an engine through the open fish hold. The patch that was tack-welded at the time is what failed under the pressure of the water once the vessel was flooded. Repair work like this aboard working vessels is not uncommon.

The response team installed foam and patches throughout the vessel over the weekend with the intention of towing on an afternoon high tide, but the intrusion of water into the fish hold was too severe causing the vessel to be too heavy to tow successfully ultimately leading to the delay.

If work can be completed in time the team is looking to take advantage of the morning tide Wednesday. “We’ll still be leveraging the morning high tides and it will be during daylight hours, making it safer and easier to work,” said Duke. “The forecasted tide is about 2.5 feet at 6:20 a.m.”

Work to remove the vessel has taken several weeks. The area is very shallow and a surf zone. Daily water quality testing continues to show no presence of petroleum hydrocarbons. Weather in recent weeks has slowed work. High winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph Tuesday, continue that trend but are forecasted to decrease Wednesday.

“We continue to thank the public for their patience as well the strong support and coordination with our local, state, and federal partners,” said Capt. Mike Long, captain of the port and commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “This has been a long process. We want to ensure once they begin pulling on the vessel it’s really ready for that force and we have a strong chance of success.”

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