Eleven rescued after tugboat sinks off Hawaii (with mayday AUDIO)

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(HONOLULU) — Eleven people are safe after a 95-foot towing vessel sank approximately two and half miles west of Barbers Point Harbor, Oahu, on Thursday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a call at 3:13 p.m., via VHF Channel 16 from the pilot aboard the towing vessel Nalani stating their vessel was taking on water and they were in danger of sinking.

The Coast Guard cutter Kittiwake, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Honolulu, launched to the scene along with a 45-foot response boat-medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.

Sector Honolulu sent out an urgent marine information broadcast to mariners notifying vessels in the area of the situation.

The towing vessel Tiger 7 and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration patrol boat heard the UMIB and arrived on scene to assist.

The crew of the NOAA vessel safely rescued nine crewmembers, and the Tiger 7 crew rescued two. No injuries were reported.

The RBM arrived on scene shortly after the rescue and safely transferred all 11 survivors aboard and for transport back to Station Honolulu.

The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation into the sinking and has begun interviews with the crew. The cause of the sinking is unknown and is under investigation.

All 11 survivors were wearing life jackets.

The Nalani sank in approximately 2,200 feet of water and was carrying an estimated 75,000 gallons of diesel fuel. An oil sheen was observed by Coast Guard responders before nightfall. Additional overflights are planned for Friday morning and shoreline assessment teams will be out to evaluate shorelines for impact. A unified command will be established Friday to coordinate response efforts. Identified areas of potential impact are from Barbers Point, north to Nanakuli. The public should report any observable shoreline impact to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center at (808) 842-2600.

Click here to listen to the mayday call.

By Professional Mariner Staff