Vessel could provoke EPA fines
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a federal complaint yesterday against two companies involving the vessel MV Oceanic -- formerly called the SS Independence -- that is slated to be scrapped overseas.
The complaint is against Global Shipping and Global Marketing Systems Inc. for "distribution in commerce and export of PCB-containing materials" on the Oceanic, according to EPA officials in a news release.
Export of PCB materials from the United States is a violation of the EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act. Fines against the two companies may be assessed to a maximum of $32,500 per violation per day. Vessels like the Oceanic, built in the early 1950s, were constructed with PCB-containing materials such as cables and electrical equipment.
As of yesterday, the vessel, being towed by the MV Pacific Hickory, was in Saipan for refueling, according to Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Chad Saylor.
The Oceanic is rumored to be heading to a scrapyard in Alang, India.
According to EPA officials, "federal law prohibits companies from exporting PCBs, including those in ships that are sent overseas to be scrapped." The two companies have 30 days to respond to the complaint to avoid a penalty assessment without a hearing.
EPA officials also said they were not informed by Global of their intention to export the ship for disposal. The previous owner of the vessel, Norwegian Cruise Lines, sold the vessel through a broker last year. But officials said, "The paperwork showing that Norwegian Cruise Lines had sold the vessel to Global was not submitted to the Maritime Administration until the ship had already sailed."
NCL officials could not be reached for comment.
Nanakuli-Maili board is elected
Mervina Cash-Kaeo is the first chairwoman pro tem of the newly established Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board, according to election results released by the city.
Cash-Kaeo received 265 votes, the top total.
Also elected were James Kelii (253 votes), Clyde Eli (245), Patty Teruya (235), Cynthia Rezentes (232), Hanalei Aipoalani (228), Victor Kila (214), Josiah Hoohuli (209) and Neddie Waiamau-Nunuha (193), a city release said.
A total of 496 ballots were cast in the special election, which had 24 candidates vying for nine at-large seats.
Cash-Kaeo will set the agenda for the first board meeting in April, at which the board will elect officers to serve until the next election in 2009.
Residents of Nanakuli and Maili petitioned the Neighborhood Commission last year to form a separate board to represent their communities, previously part of the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board.
Punchbowl allows potted plants
Potted plants and artificial flowers may be placed at grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as Punchbowl, for the rest of this month.
The items will be removed on March 31, according to an announcement from the cemetery. Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, glass objects, toys and balloons are not permitted.
Officials also request that floral arrangements not be secured to headstones or markers and that no metal hooks be used to secure potted plants or decorations since they could cause a hazard during mowing.
Prom dresses part of fundraiser
The Domestic Violence Action Center is hosting its third annual "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" gently used prom dress sale at Kapiolani Community College on Saturday. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kapiolani Community College's Mokihana Building, Room 105. About 300 gently used prom dresses will be on sale. More than 250 dresses have been donated with the help of American Savings Bank and the University of Hawaii. Silpada Fine Jewelry will also be selling jewelry during the event.
The event will raise money to support the work of the organization, formerly known as the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline.
Police, Fire, Courts
Dead motorcyclist was Schofield man
A motorcyclist who was killed Sunday has been identified by the Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office as 27-year-old Jonathan Daniels of Schofield Barracks.
About 8:20 Sunday morning, Daniels was driving a yellow 2003 motorcycle west on Kaukonahua Road near Wilikina Drive when he crossed the center line, police said.
Daniels laid his cycle down and slid into an oncoming 1994 sport utility vehicle, which ran over him, police said. Daniels was wearing a helmet and died at Wahiawa General Hospital.
There have been 10 traffic fatalities on Oahu this year, compared with 20 at this time last year, according to police.
Theft and forgery suspect in custody
Police arrested a 22-year-old man who allegedly stole checks from a 52-year-old woman.
The woman's vehicle was broken into at the Ala Moana Center on Feb. 21 and several checks were stolen, police said. Afterward, the woman closed her account.
Weeks later, the suspect filled in the stolen blank checks and deposited them into his account, police said. The bank notified police and filed forgery reports.
The suspect was arrested Monday at his Panui Street home near Liliha Street on suspicion of three counts of second-degree forgery, two counts of second-degree identity theft, third-degree identity theft, attempted second-degree theft and unauthorized possession of confidential information.
Stabbing threat compounds abuse
Police arrested a 29-year-old man who allegedly hit his girlfriend and threatened to stab her.
A 35-year-old woman reported that on Thursday, her boyfriend hit her in the face. The suspect then allegedly picked up a knife and threatened to stab her and himself before leaving their Waipahu home.
Police found the suspect Monday and arrested him on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening and abuse of a household member.
Alleged rock-hurler busted in car case
A 39-year-old man was charged with first-degree criminal property damage for allegedly throwing a rock at a woman's car Friday as she was driving on Farrington Highway in Waianae.
Christopher Kahaaina, with no local address, was released Saturday on $40,000 bail.
According to police, a 49-year-old woman was driving her car n Farrington Highway about 7:45 a.m. Friday when Kahaaina threw a rock, shattering the front windshield.
Ewa flames cause $620,000 in damage
Fire early yesterday caused $620,000 damage to three town-house units in Ewa.
The fire at 91-1091 Laaulu St. was reported at 6:29 a.m. A man in Unit C was awakened by flames but escaped unharmed. His unit was destroyed and two neighboring units were damaged, fire officials said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Arson is blamed in blaze at home
Fire that heavily damaged a Hauula home Sunday appeared to be intentionally set, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.
The fire at 53-685 Kamehameha Highway was reported at 1:51 p.m. by the homeowner, who arrived home and saw smoke coming from the house, the fire department said.
The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes and was confined to the kitchen.
The fire department did not provide further details on the cause.
Damage was estimated at $120,000 to the structure and $30,000 to the contents. No one was hurt.
Smashed windows lead to 2 arrests
Police arrested two 19-year-old men for allegedly smashing the windows of a car as three others left a Waikiki bar early Sunday morning.
According to police, two 20-year-old men and a 19-year-old woman were leaving a Waikiki bar in their car when the two men stopped them at 2255 Kuhio Ave.
One of the men smashed the front windshield with a bottle while the other did the same to the rear windshield. The glass shards caused minor scratches to one of the passenger's shoulders.
Officers observed the incident and arrested the two men on suspicion of first-degree criminal property damage.