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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 10:26 p.m., Sunday, December 1, 2002

Salvage team sinks grounded fishing ship

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

A grounded fishing vessel off of Diamond Head was removed from the reef at about 5:30 p.m. today and sunk by a salvage team.

Civil Defense officials had earlier asked swimmers to stay out of the water between Diamond Head and Queen's Surf after sharks were sighted around the grounded fishing vessel Kolea, which spilled much of its catch of 100- to 200-pound fish.

Acting O'ahu Civil Defense Administrator Doug Aton said the city will begin retrieving the dead fish from the water tomorrow.

A salvage team contracted by the Coast Guard removed the ship from the reef, where it had been grounded since Thursday. The Kolea was sunk one-and-a-half miles south-southeast of Diamond Head in about 300 feet of water.

The Coast Guard had warned surfers and others to stay at least 500 yards from the boat, and that fishing hooks and gear on deck posed a hazard.

The fire department, which put the area under aerial surveillance, said that its Air One helicopter spotted a shark near the vessel at about noon today.

Jim Howe, head of the city's Ocean Safety Division, said, "We are advising in the strongest possible fashion for folks to stay out of the water in the area."

The Kolea ran aground at 3:30 a.m. Thursday with five people on board. All swam safely to shore. Howe said the boat's hull was crushed and that it would not have floated again. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Reach Walter Wright at wwright@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8054.