Crews survey ocean, Oahu coastline for oil after ship sinks

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HONOLULU (AP) — Crews have spotted a red diesel sheen south of the Honolulu airport one day after a vessel sank off Oahu, the Coast Guard said Friday.

Officials were checking to see whether any of the oil was recoverable, said Chief Petty Officer Kurt Fredrickson, a Coast Guard spokesman.

The sheen was found about 7 miles south of the airport. An oil spill response vessel separately observed a 1-mile-by-50-foot sheen near the Barbers Point offshore mooring buoy.

Fredrickson says both are related to Thursday's sinking of the 95-foot Nalani about 1/2 miles off Barbers Point Harbor.

Overflight surveys showed no sheen in the water where the ship sank, and coastal teams haven't seen any diesel come ashore. But a diesel smell was reported in White Plains and Nanakuli.

Air samples taken along the coast didn't generate any levels of concern to public health and safety.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials were checking whether the fuel is harming wildlife.

The Coast Guard said $50,000 from the federal Oil Spill Trust and Liability Fund was being made available for cleanup.

The Nalani's pilot reported the ship was taking on water at 3:13 p.m. Thursday.

Coast Guard boats and nearby vessels rushed to rescue all 11 people on board. A NOAA patrol boat saved nine crew members, while the towing vessel Tiger 7 rescued two. A Coast Guard boat took all 11 to Honolulu.

The ship was carrying 75,000 gallons of fuel when it sank in 2,200 feet of water. Areas from Barbers Point to Nanakuli could be affected by oil, the Coast Guard said.

The cause of the sinking was being investigated.

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