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Sunday, July 3, 2005
Research ship grounded
The Coast Guard is heading
Besides the diesel fuel, the Casitas has about 3,000 gallons of gasoline and 200 gallons of lubricating oil aboard, according to a news release.
No leakage had occurred as of yesterday afternoon.
The Coast Guard cutter Walnut is headed to the area with a Spilled Oil Recovery System to help with clean-up if any fuel oil pollution occurs. It is expected to arrive in five days.
The Casitas, under charter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was en route to Maro Reef and French Frigate Shoals with NOAA and University of Hawaii Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) scientists on an annual marine debris cleanup when it ran aground on Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
Ironically, during its marine debris voyage last year the Casitas discovered the remains of what were believed to be the whaling ships Pearl and Hermes, which struck a reef in 1822. The atoll is named after the sunken ships.
Six work boats from the Casitas were used to take people about to North Island, where they planned to camp.
They will be transferred later to Pearl and Hermes Atoll where three NOAA and JIMAR officials are monitoring the Hawaiian monk seal population.
NOAA's research vessel Oscar Elton Sette has diverted from another scientific mission in the area and is expected to reach the Casitas tonight.
Two C-130 Coast Guard aircraft from Barbers Point planned to take turns watching the ship, staging out of Midway.