UPDATE: 500 gallons of diesel recovered after tug sinks off Oahu

January 24, 2015


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HONOLULU — The Coast Guard, Department of Health and responsible party Unified Command, conducted oil spill clean-up efforts Friday after the Nalani, a 95-foot towing vessel with 75,000 gallons of diesel fuel sank off Barbers Point Harbor, Oahu Thursday in 2,000 feet of water.

Initial projections forecasted the oil sheen to travel north and impact the waters from Barbers Point to Nanakuli. Shoreline assessment teams inspected the beaches and over flights of the area didn’t locate any oil sheens in this area.  Shoreline assessment teams identified a slight sheen on Ewa Beach and White Plains Beach that will naturally disperse.

Unified Command resources identified the largest concentration of diesel fuel 5 to 7 miles south of Sand Island and a Clean Islands Council Oil Spill Recovery Vessel was dispatched and successfully recovered about 500 gallons of diesel fuel today.

Additional shoreline impact for the southern shores of Oahu is not forecasted, however due to the winds coming out of the south, individuals residing near south facing shores may experience the smell of diesel fuel in the air.

Out of an abundance of caution, individuals who believe they have come in contact with diesel should seek medical attention if experiencing an adverse reaction. However, the State Department of Health will be monitoring air quality. A diesel odor may be evident if the oil sheen reaches the shoreline, but not at a level hazardous to public health.

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

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been opened with $50,000 available for response operations.  Volunteers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are looking for impacted wildlife throughout the area. The Unified Command is coordinating with local lifeguards to monitor local beaches for impact. The State of Hawaii has not issued any warning to the public concerning water and shoreline safety. 

The public should report any observable shoreline impact or injured wildlife to the Unified Command at (808) 842-5058.