COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD
It is unknown how long repairs to the Tong Cheng will take.
56-inch crack in hull forces Chinese ship to stop in isles
The 485-foot Chinese cargo ship Tong Cheng was forced yesterday to make an unscheduled stop here to repair a 56-inch crack on its hull below the waterline.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Russ Tibbets said it was not immediately known how long the repair will take.
Its crew of 26 will not be allowed to leave the ship while it is anchored off Honolulu Airport's reef runway. Tibbets said the ship's cargo consists of steel, plywood, diesel engines, PVC resin, clothing and ammunition. The ship had left South Korea and was on its way to the Caribbean.
The ship is owned by the Shanghai Ocean Shipping Co. It notified the Coast Guard on Jan. 13 that rough seas on Dec. 26 had damaged its No. 2 cargo hold below the waterline on its port side.
A Coast Guard C130 aircraft and an assessment team were dispatched to the Tong Cheng to conduct a preliminary assessment of the damage and to determine if there was any pollution as a result.
Tibbets said a sheen of oil was initially observed Friday when the cargo ship was 75 miles west-southwest of Honolulu. However, the source could not be identified, he said, and nothing else was reported after the first sighting.
On Sunday a team of technical experts and divers from the Coast Guard's salvage engineering response team, Navy Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One from Pearl Harbor, and commercial companies assessed the damaged hull and placed a temporary patch, Tibbets said.