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Coast Guard Responds to Tugboat Fire off Maui

Posted December 6, 2012, 03:28 PM HST Updated December 7, 2012, 08:26 AM HST
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US Coast Guard, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Several Honolulu-based Coast Guard units responded to a vessel on fire approximately 69 miles northwest of Maui, on Wednesday.

Watchstanders in the Sector Honolulu Command Center received a mayday call from the commercial tug Phyllis Dunlap at approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.

Coast Guard officials say the tug was in transit from Seattle to Honolulu, when an engineer on board reported hearing a fire alarm.

According to authorities, the tug reportedly experienced a disabling engine room fire that resulted in a complete loss of propulsion. The captain then activated the engine room’s fixed fire suppression system, which is believed to have extinguished the fire, at 2:30 p.m., officials said.

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At the time of the fire, Coast Guard officials say the Phyllis Dunlap crew was towing a barge, which collided with the tug.  The engines were disabled in the incident, and damage to both tug and barge were superficial, according to Coast Gaurd officials.

After assessing the damage, the Phyllis Dunlap crew was advised to stay aboard their vessel, and a Sause Brothers assist tug, Kokua, arrived to tow the damaged vessel, at 10:15 p.m.  All six crew members are reportedly safe and accounted for.

The Phyllis Dunlap crew is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday, December 7, 2012.

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