The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(HONOLULU) – Coast Guardsmen from several Honolulu-based units responded to a vessel on fire approximately 69 miles northwest of Maui, Wednesday evening.
Watchstanders in the Sector Honolulu Command Center received a mayday call from the commercial tug Phyllis Dunlap at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday. During a transit from Seattle to Honolulu, an engineer aboard reported hearing a fire alarm. It was reported the tug experienced a disabling engine room fire that resulted in a complete loss of propulsion. The captain activated the engine room's fixed fire suppression system, which is believed to have extinguished the fire, at 2:30 p.m. All six crewmembers are reportedly safe and accounted for with no medical concerns.
Coast Guard aircrews aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter were launched from Air Station Barbers Point to assist at 2:05 p.m. The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island was diverted to render assistance at 2:28 p.m. A nearby vessel, the Mahi Mahi, was also requested to assist with the response. The Hercules crew arrived on scene at 3 p.m. and the Dolphin crew arrived on scene at 3:20 p.m.
The Galveston Island crew arrived at 9 p.m. After assessing the damage, the Phyllis Dunlap crew was advised to stay aboard their vessel. A Sause Brothers assist tug, Kokua, arrived and established a tow, at 10:15 p.m.
The Phyllis Dunlap crew is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday.
At the time of the fire, the Phyllis Dunlap crew was towing a barge, called the Westward Trader, which collided with the tug when its engines were disabled. The damage to both tug and barge was superficial.