Salvors Work to Locate and Retrieve Overboard Containers Off Hilo

Mike Schuler
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June 24, 2020

Stacks of container toppled on the dexk of the Ho Omaka Hou in Hilo Harbor, Hawaii. 

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to oversee the response to shipping containers lost overboard from a Hawaiian inter-island barge in Hilo Harbor on Monday.

A Cates Marine salvage team was hired by the shipping company, Young Brothers, to continue to search for and locate missing containers.

As of Tuesday, twelve containers of the 21 lost overboard remain unaccounted for. Two containers have been successfully towed and secured in Hilo Harbor. Another two containers are located and marked. These four containers retrieved or marked were part of cluster of nine containers located about 8 miles north Hilo.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday responded to a report of lost cargo from the barge Ho Omaka Hou as the tug Hoku Loa was transiting with the barge inbound to Hilo Harbor. The tug operator reported that several 40-foot shipping containers fell overboard at 4:30 a.m. on Monday.

The number of containers that fell overboard is believed to be 21.

Only one container has been found to contain hazardous materials in the form of small household cleaners and usage materials, and this container is on the barge and not in the water, the Coast Guard reported.

The Ho Omaka Hou barge is owned and operated by Hawaii-based Young Brothers, a leading interisland freight company and independent subsidiary of Foss Maritime Company, which is wholly-owned by Saltchuk Resources.

Cates Marine personnel will continue to locate and retrieve the containers. Plans are in place to begin operation to remove the recovered containers from the water in Hilo Harbor beginning Wednesday morning. The company has also developed a salvage plan to offload the barge and will submit it to Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel for review and approval.

A Coast Guard broadcast notice to mariners remains in effect for the waters off Hilo to advise mariners to use extra caution while transiting the area and keep a sharp lookout for any signs of containers that may present a hazard to navigation.

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