20 fishermen rescued after boat runs aground off Waikiki

Twenty fishermen were rescued early Wednesday morning after their 79-foot commercial fishing boat ran around about a half-mile off Waikiki.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded after receiving reports Tuesday night that Pacific Paradise had run aground off Diamond Head, near Outrigger Canoe Club.

With help from the Honolulu Fire Department, crews transferred most the fishermen onto a Coast Guard Response boat, which brought them to Ala Wai Harbor.

Two of the fishermen and the master of the vessel were hoisted by a helicopter crew and carried to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

No one was hurt.

“Typically the crew is about six, seven people. The reason this boat had 20 people was because it was in transit to bring more crew members to work along other longline fishing boats,” explained Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur. “It was reported that the fisherman came from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Once they were successfully rescued off the vessel, they were brought to shore and released to Customs and Border Protection.”

Approximately 4,500 gallons of diesel, 55 gallons of lube and hydraulic oils, and four marine batteries are reported aboard.

No pollution has been reported, and crews worked Wednesday to remove the oil from the ship.

“The Coast Guard is working with PENCO and Cates Marine to lighter the vessel by removing any potential pollutants, and that way our objective is to lighten the vessel and have it moved off the reef as soon as possible,” said Levasseur, ideally by high tide Thursday.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding. Responders are working with the owner to assess damage and develop a salvage plan.

The Pacific Paradise is ported in Honolulu. Its last port of call was Pago Pago, America Samoa en route to Honolulu Harbor

Weather at the time of the incident was reportedly winds at 11 mph and seas less than a foot with partly cloudy skies.

Meanwhile, wildlife officials are keeping an eye out for Rocky, a Hawaiian monk seal spotted along nearby Kaimana Beach Wednesday morning.

She has since left the area, and volunteers are on the lookout in case she returns.

Officials want to ensure her safety in light of the grounded vessel and ongoing fuel removal operations.

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