Tale of the Pacific Paradise
On October 10, 2017 the Pacific Paradise, a fishing vessel, ran aground on the reef near Kaimana Beach at Diamond Head with 20 people on board. Efforts to remove the vessel were plagued with complications.
Within days after the shipwreck a salvage team boarded the vessel with the intent of floating it off the reef at high tide. The team ran into several problems. An early complication - a water pump installed to drain the hull spilled gasoline onto a hot surface, starting a fire. The seven-person salvage crew aboard the ship jumped overboard to safety. Honolulu Fire Department's helicopter dropped water on the Pacific Paradise and successfully extinguished the fire.
Coast Guard personnel used this trailer as the command post on land. They also used jet skis and boats to monitor removal work.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir reported the boad caught fire around 10 a.m. on the morning of October 14th. The boat has two fuel tanks and there were approximately 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel on board when the fire started. Some fuel escaped into the ocean after the fire. Sara Muir said the diesel fuel can break up and evaporate quickly. The National Oceaanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitored the ocean after the spill.
Salvage crews began adding buoyancy to the Pacific Paradise to float it. The water at the shipwreck site at Kaimana beach is fairly shallow, about six feet deep depending on the tide, with coral heads jutting up. In late October a tug boat attempted to pull the Pacific Paradise in an easterly direction, towards the wind sock to get it off the reef. The ship budged several feet and remained stuck on the reef.
The next step was removal of large pieces of steel aboard the ship to lighten the load. Despite the effort, Pacific Paradise remained grounded for sometime. On Thursday, December 7, 2017, sea conditions were right and the Pacific Paradise was towed 13 miles out to sea and sunk approximately 1,800 feet below the ocean's surface.
Environmental concerns about fishing hooks and spilled fuel seem to have been not-so-significant issues. Kaimana beachgoers are free to swim as they please again now that the ship is gone.
While the Pacific Paradise was considered a hazard and its removal was costly, the shipwreck also provided different scenery at Diamond Head for a couple of months. Crowds of people often sat at the shoreline at sunset as shown here.
Mike Bates (Realtor Associate)
Century 21 iProperties Hawaii
1585 Kapiolani Blvd #1533
Honolulu, HI 96814