Grounded Fishing Vessel Clean Up Completed

HONOLULU — Coast Guard personnel along with experts from the Pacific Environmental Corporation (PENCO) Wednesday completed clean up of oil and hazardous material from the fishing vessel Wahine Kepaloa II, which ran aground Dec. 29 on Ni’ihau.

The Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team supervised clean up of diesel water, propane, batteries, refrigerant and other hazardous materials from the 44-foot fishing vessel, which was hard aground near the southeast point of Ni’ihau. The Coast Guard had air lifted two uninjured crewmembers Dec. 29.

Helicopter transferring hazard waste to an offshore barge
A heavy lift helicopter transports hazardous material from the grounded fishing vessel Wahine Kepaloa II to an off-shore barge. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer Luke Clayton.

PENCO used a helicopter with a sling to move nine batteries, two refrigerant cylinders, a propane cylinder and almost 1,000 gallons of watery fuel to an off-shore barge. On the barge, a Coast Guard site safety supervisor ensured proper storage of the hazardous materials. The barrels of waste were labeled and stowed safely in the barge’s holding tanks and the barge was due to arrive in Honolulu this afternoon at 5:15 p.m.

The Coast Guard worked closely with the State of Hawaii Department of Health and the owners of the boat on the recovery operation.

The cause of the grounding is still under investigation.

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