Crews have finally made progress in towing a grounded fishing vessel off of a reef near Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach nearly two months after it ran aground.
Just after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, a salvage team from Resolve Marine successfully towed the 79-foot Pacific Paradise about 600 feet off the reef and into a sandy channel before the tide ebbed too far preventing further movement, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.
The team intended to tow the vessel again on Thursday morning during the next suitable high tide.
The U.S.-flagged Pacific Paradise has been stuck on the reef about 1,000 feet off of Kaimana Beach, Oahu since it ran aground early on October 11 while carrying about 8,000 gallons of diesel and 55 gallons of lube oil. Initial attempts to tow the vessel proved unsuccessful and, to make matters worse, a fire burned through nearly the entire vessel just a few days into the response.
Salvage experts with Resolve Marine were eventually brought in to remove the vessel and, over the past several weeks, have been preparing for the refloat. Most critically, crews had to repair a bulkhead between the fish hold and the engine room of the Pacific Paradise by installing 5-foot by 6-foot metal plate against the existing bulkhead that would ensure its watertight integrity.
“It’s a challenging space to work in and we needed a little more time to make sure the new patch is fully installed,” Resolve Marine’s project manager, Todd Duke, said on Tuesday. “We’re taking extra measures to ensure the integrity of this robust patch.”
With the Pacific Paradise finally off the reef, additional work needed to be done to get the bow up farther and get another padeye installed on the forward section to accommodate a second tug. The team intended to pull again today on the high tide of 2.3 feet just after 7 a.m.
As of noon there was no further update on the operation.
No additional pollution has been reported.
The Pacific Paradise is a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. Following the grounding, the Captain and 19 fishermen were rescued from the vessel. The fishermen were released to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.