Maui News

Coast Guard Responds to Tugboat Fire off Maui

December 6, 2012, 3:28 PM HST
* Updated December 7, 8:26 AM
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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.

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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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