Coast Guard Monitoring Removal of Fuel From Grounded Fishing Vessel on Niihau

HONOLULU – The Coast Guard, the Hawaii State Department of Health and the Robinson family continue to monitor the removal of fuel from a grounded fishing vessel at Kawaihoa Point, on the southern tip of Niihau Friday night.

Coast Guard marine safety personnel from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu traveled to the site today to assess the damage to the Wahine Kepaloa II and evaluate the area for fuel removal operations. Pacific Environmental Company has been hired to conduct the oil removal operation.

The master of the vessel estimated the vessel had less than 1,000 gallons of fuel aboard at the time of the grounding.

The master of the 44-foot vessel radioed a Mayday at about 7:15 p.m. Friday; the same time as an emergency signal was received from the vessel’s 406 mHz emergency position indicating radio beacon at the Coast Guard’s command center here.

The two men donned their lifejackets and swam to shore. A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew was sent from Barbers Point; the Coast Guard also issued an urgent request for assistance from mariners in the area. The master of the cruise ship Pride of America diverted to assist. The cruise ship’s crew used high-powered search lights to search the area.

The helicopter crew airlifted the two survivors from the cliffs and returned them to Kauai. Neither survivor reported any injuries.

The cause of the grounding in under investigation.

Source: USCG D14 Public Affairs

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