Fishing Vessel at Midway Atoll Repaired: Awaiting Safety Certification

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported today that three small holes in the Japanese fishing vessel Kotobuki Maru No. 38 have been patched to eliminate the possibility of additional fuel escaping into the environment at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Any remaining fuel and water within the damaged tank is now secure.

A professional marine surveyor is en route to the atoll. When the surveyor determines the vessel is seaworthy, the vessel may proceed to a port with facilities to perform permanent repairs.

Two patches were placed over the holes in the damaged fuel tank. The patches were then secured with epoxy as a secondary level of protection.

The cause of the damage to the fishing vessel remains under investigation. The vessel apparently hit an obstruction near the entrance to the channel, but strong winds and heavy seas continue to preclude any investigation of the possible impact site.

The injured crewman being brought to Midway for medical evacuation recovered sufficiently enough to return home to Japan. He departed from Honolulu this morning. A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules from Barbers Point Air Station will bring back to Honolulu some of the oil spill responders whose mission on Midway is completed.

U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel will complete extensive surveys of Midway Atoll, including critical habitat areas for endangered Hawaiian monk seals. There are no reports of oiled wildlife or any signs of pollution.

Source: USCG D14 Public Affairs

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