JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Crew members of the Two Star salvaged what they could from the vessel yesterday afternoon. The boat, which ran aground with engine problems, is starting to break apart.
After three days aground at Kewalo, a fishing vessel is breaking up
A 54-foot wooden fishing vessel was breaking apart in the large surf at Point Panic -- the second time a boat captained by Mario Martin had run aground in Hawaii.
The first time was his own vessel, Kay, which ran aground in Waimanalo in 2001 after the watchman either fell asleep or was watching TV, fishing boat captain Martin said.
Martin said the fishing boat owner is flying him to Hilo today to captain another fishing boat.
"If I'm a bad captain, then they wouldn't do that," he said. "I think I'm good."
At Kewalo Basin, some surfers were reluctant to go in yesterday with pieces of wood from the nearly 60-year-old Two Star floating in the water. The boat ran aground Saturday.
The surfers were also worried about the possibility of sharks lured by any fish catch left on board.
A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said the owner, Howard Um*, does not have certificate of financial responsibility, comparable to insurance for the vessel. It is not required for a vessel 300 gross tons or less.
He is being fined, up to a maximum $32,500 per day allowed by federal law, the Coast Guard said.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The 54-foot fishing vessel Two Star remained aground for the third day yesterday against the rocks at Point Panic.
The Coast Guard contracted the Pacific Environmental Corp., which successfully removed all of the nearly 1,700 gallons of diesel fuel on board. Meanwhile, the Department of Land and Natural Resources is now responsible for contacting the owner to move the boat off the rocks.
Department spokeswoman Deborah Ward said information concerning the boat's ownership has not yet been obtained from the Department of Transportation. She said the boat is still the legal property of the owner, and the DLNR cannot touch it until he has been contacted.
Yesterday afternoon, Martin, the boat captain, defended the listing boat from looters. A few men climbed on board and removed a large gaffe, which they later threw into the rocks after Martin insisted they stop.
"They have no right," Martin said. "Anything happens to them, I'll be responsible."
However, Martin allowed two crewmen and a former crewman of his to salvage some items, including a gaffe, a bicycle, some meat and a 20-pound bag of rice the crewmen insisted on saving.
Nishima Asher, a crewman on board at the time of the accident, said they had sold their catch of 5,000 pounds of bigeye tuna (ahi) at Pier 38 and were on their way to their base in the middle of the channel at Kewalo Basin when the engine went down. The battery was weak, and the captain could not start up the boat, so they called the Coast Guard about 4:30 a.m.
"The waves were pushing us to shallow water," he said. The boat kept drifting until it ran aground on the rocks at Point Panic, he said.
The Coast Guard responded immediately, said spokeswoman Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson, but two crewmen had already made it to shore, and the two others wanted to remain with the boat, but later decided to leave and also swam safely to shore.
With its nose in the rocks, the boat's bow was splitting vertically and its stern was destroyed by yesterday afternoon, apparently from the huge waves.
A few surfers continued to enjoy the swell, and some came close to the vessel.
Martin said he wondered why everything happened at the Kewalo Channel.
"Maybe bad luck," he said, since other accidents have happened in the same area.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
» Howard Um is a principal with Leilani Fishing Corp., owner of the grounded boat Two Star. His last name was misspelled in a Page A1 article yesterday.