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Fuel being taken off Hawaii shipwreck

The Coast Guard has begun removing fuel and oil from a ship that ran aground in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a week ago.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Coast Guard is removing fuel and oil from a 145-foot ship that ran aground in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands more than a week ago.

The Coast Guard cutter Walnut started removing the fuel from the Casitas on Saturday so that it could later be removed from the reef.

Coast Guard C-130 aircraft are continuing daily overflights to monitor the scene for any new developments. There has been no discernible sheen on the water since last Monday.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observers aboard the Walnut have reported no oiled wildlife within the immediate area of the Casitas.

No injuries were reported when the debris cleanup ship carrying some 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 3,000 gallons of gasoline and 200 gallons of lubricating oil hit Pearl and Hermes Atoll for unknown reasons on July 2. The atoll is located 86 miles from Midway Island, or about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu.

A dive company is conducting a hull assessment on the grounded ship.

The crew of the Casitas was flown to Oahu aboard a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft on Wednesday. Meanwhile, shipboard assessments were initiated by the Coast Guard National Strike Force Team Pacific, a team specializing in marine environmental response.

The ship was picking up fishing nets and other debris in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which extend about 1,200 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands.

The archipelago is a national wildlife refuge, and a breeding ground for endangered monk seals. A quarter of the species that live at the atoll are found nowhere else on earth.