Eleven people were rescued by two ships nearby after their towing vessel – lugging 75,000 gallons of diesel fuel – sank off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii according to the Honolulu Coast Guard.
“Mayday, mayday, mayday.” A radio recording released by the Coast Guard shared the moment an officer sent a distress call to the base. “Approximately two and half miles west of Barbers Point Harbor,” the officer said, “vessel appears to have started to sink.”
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The mayday call was received at 3:13 p.m. HST after the pilot of the towing vessel Nalani called the Coast Guard to report their ship was flooding and may sink.
Two ships were in the vicinity and heard the distress call: the towing vessel Tiger 7 and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration patrol boat. Both helped rescue the 11 stranded crew members and as a result no injuries were reported, according to the Coast Guard.
The Nalani, a 95-foot towing vessel, carried 75,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The vessel sank in about 2,200 feet of water, CNN reported.
“A flight went up prior to sunset and observed a very light oil sheen approximately three miles long by 100 yards wide,” said Coast Guard spokesman Darin McCracken.
“There is a very small trace amount of rainbow sheet. Most of it concentrated around the position of the vessel,” he said.
The next assessment flight is scheduled to take place Friday morning.
The cause of sinking is still under investigation, though it is probable the vessel will not be recovered, McCracken said.
He added, the fuel “most likely will naturally dissipate” but the full environmental impact has yet to be determined.
2 Ships Rescue Crew From Sinking Vessel Off Hawaii Coast