Commercial fishing vessel catches fire, sinks off Hawaiian coast

A 46-foot commercial fishing vessel which caught fire off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, sunk 2,700 feet into the ocean Wednesday morning after the blaze, the U.S. Coast Guard said, according to Hawaii News Now.

Seven people were aboard the ship, Miss Emma, as it caught fire Tuesday afternoon, but all were rescued. After a fire broke out in the engine room, they called Coast Guard officials for help. Just as they were clambering into a life raft, the Coast Guard arrived on the scene.

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The six crew members and one National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) observer aboard the vessel were transported to Honolulu Harbor and medically evaluated. None appeared to have sustained any serious injuries.

“We were able to get on scene relatively quickly just before the crew abandoned ship and they got into a life raft,” Cory Palmer of the U.S. Coast Guard told Hawaii News Now. “We’ve shifted from the safety-of-life-at-sea phase into pollution-response phase. So we’re monitoring that situation and we’re still working on those details.”

Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point aircrews and Coast Guard surface assets respond to a vessel fire. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Brandon Horacek/Released)

Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point aircrews and Coast Guard surface assets respond to a vessel fire. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Brandon Horacek/Released)

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The crew remained on scene throughout the night Tuesday to ensure the burning vessel did not become a hazard to maritime traffic.

Around 1,500 gallons of diesel had reportedly been on board, but the Coast Guard said there was no pollution as the fire likely consumed all of the fuel.

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An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the blaze aboard the ship, which was built in 1977.