79-foot fish­ing ves­sel runs aground off Oahu, Hawaii

Manila Bulletin - - Shipping Bulletin -

HONOLULU (AP) – The US Coast Guard res­cued 19 for­eign fish­er­men and their Amer­i­can cap­tain from a 79foot (24-me­ter) US-flagged com­mer­cial fish­ing ves­sel that ran aground off the shore of Waikiki Tues­day night.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Of­fi­cer Sara Muir said Wed­nes­day that of­fi­cials are work­ing to get diesel fuel off the boat, which car­ries 13,000 gal­lons (49,210 liters) of gas and hy­draulic oils. There was no sign that any fuel or other haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als had leaked into the water, Muir said.

Of­fi­cials did not re­ceive a dis­tress call from the Honolulu-based Pa­cific Princess when it ran aground in shal­low water less than 400 yards (366 me­ters) off­shore, Muir said. Eye­wit­nesses on land re­ported the in­ci­dent to the Coast Guard, which re­sponded with the Honolulu Fire Depart­ment by boat, jet skis and he­li­copter. No one was in­jured.

The Coast Guard does not yet know why the cap­tain or crew did not call for help. “The Coast Guard is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances of why the ves­sel grounded and I'm sure that's a ques­tion they are ask­ing,” Muir said.

All but three of the men aboard the boat were moved to a nearby Coast Guard ves­sel and re­turned to shore. The cap­tain and two crew mem­bers were hoisted from the fish­ing boat by he­li­copter and flown to Honolulu In­ter­na­tional Air­port, where they were met by po­lice and fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials.

The boat's for­eign crew is be­ing held by US Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion of­fi­cials at Pier 17 in Honolulu be­cause they do not have visas to en­ter the United States.

Hun­dreds of for­eign work­ers are em­ployed in the Hawaii fish­ing fleet due to a fed­eral loop­hole that al­lows them to work but ex­empts them from most ba­sic la­bor pro­tec­tions. Many come from im­pov­er­ished South­east Asian and Pa­cific na­tions to take the dan­ger­ous jobs, which can pay as lit­tle as 70 cents an hour, a 2016 As­so­ci­ated Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion found.

The Coast Guard said the 19 crew mem­bers of the Pa­cific Princess are from In­done­sia, Viet­nam, and the Philip­pines. Some may find other boats to work on while oth­ers may re­turn to their home coun­tries, Muir said.

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