Update: Sunken Tug Spills Oil off Oahu

The U.S. Coast Guard Hawaii Pacific, Department of Health and responsible party Unified Command, are continuing oil spill clean-up efforts after the Nalani, a 95-foot towing vessel with 75,000 gallons of diesel fuel sank off Barbers Point Harbor, Oahu, last Thursday in 2,200 feet of water.

Unified Command resources are conducting shoreline, near-shore and over flight assessments of south facing shores to relocate the oil sheen. Resources are ready to respond and attempt to recover product from the water. The Hawaii Department of Health is also in the area conducting air monitoring.

The initial assessments indicate reduced sheening with most drifting in a southerly direction and not recoverable. This will naturally disperse, the Coast Guard says. At the location of the sinking there was a light sheen coming to the surface and also drifting south that is not recoverable.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been opened with USD 125,000 available for response operations. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel are looking for impacted wildlife throughout the area. The Unified Command is coordinating with City and County of Honolulu departments to monitor local beaches for impact. The State of Hawaii has not issued any warning to the public concerning water and shoreline safety.

Last Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a call at 3:13 PM local time from the pilot aboard the towing vessel Nalani stating their vessel was taking on water and they were in danger of sinking.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Honolulu launched to the scene along with a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.

Sector Honolulu sent out an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to Mariners notifying vessels in the area of the situation. The towing vessel Tiger 7 and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration patrol boat heard the UMIB and arrived on scene to assist. The crew of the NOAA vessel safely rescued 9 crew members, and the Tiger 7 crew rescued 2. No injuries were reported.

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