Team begins towing wrecked fishing boat off Hawaii reef

HONOLULU (AP) — A commercial fishing vessel carrying foreign workers that ran aground and later burned and leaked fuel just off the beaches of Waikiki is being towed out to sea where it will be sunk by salvage workers.

After being filled with foam and water to regain buoyancy, the 79-foot Pacific Paradise was connected to a tugboat to be hauled off the reef Wednesday.

The crash raises new questions about the safety and working conditions of foreign laborers in the Hawaii fleet.

No one aboard called for help, and rescue teams responding to eyewitness reports found 19 foreign workers and an American captain.

The vessel — based in Honolulu and used to catch tuna in the Pacific — smashed into the reef just before midnight on Oct. 10 in about 6 feet of water just a few hundred yards offshore.

Days later, it caught fire, causing extensive damage that slowed its removal and sent debris, fuel and oil into the ocean.