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Coast Guard ship removes navigational gear from atoll


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POSTED: Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Coast Guard cutter Kukui has completed removing harbor and other navigational equipment at remote Johnston Atoll, 863 miles southwest of Hawaii.

The 225-foot Juniper-class buoy tender spent two weeks at the 50-square-mile atoll, removing nine buoys from the harbor and nine nautical aids from Johnston's beaches. All that remains of the harbor are a few concrete pylons and range towers.

The atoll was transferred in 2003 to the Fish and Wildlife Service from the U.S. military.

The Kukui's crew also transported two Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to the atoll to monitor the various seabird species, review the habitat and assess the condition of the existing landfills.

Johnston Atoll consists of four small islands—two natural and two man-made. It is officially part of the unincorporated territory of the United States and managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

The buoy tender's crew also assisted the U.S. Geological Survey by assessing the condition of a Global Seismographic Network station. The station is capable of measuring and recording seismic vibrations from earthquakes, providing scientists data on earthquake locations, earthquake hazard mitigation and earthquake emergency response.