The vessel caught fire about 8 miles south of Sand Island, prompting a search and rescue response. The ship burned throughout the night and eventually sank seven miles south of Barbers Point in 2,700 feet of water.
Salvors arrived overnight at the scene and started fighting the fire to salvage the ship. US Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders coordinated a US Coast Guard Auxiliary Air flight for sunrise with a pollution responder on board to assess any visible pollution or debris.
The maximum potential fuel load for the Miss Emma was 3,200 gallons of diesel, of which about 1,500 gallons was reportedly aboard. The fire likely consumed some or all of that fuel.
We’re pleased there was no loss of life in this case, and there are no current reports of pollution. We will conduct another overflight of the area today, and Coast Guard personnel are investigating the cause of the fire
stated Lt. j.g. Seth Gross, a command duty officer for Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.
USCG received the initial mayday call from the crew of the Miss Emma reporting the fire. A US Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew was first on scene and rescued the six crew, and an NOAA observer from the fishing vessel’s liferaft. They arrived safely to Pier 38 in Honolulu with no reported injuries.
The USCG Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) crew responded as well and recovered the liferaft. They were on scene during the night to make sure that the burning vessel did not become a hazard to local maritime traffic. After the sinking, they observed no signs of pollution or debris.
As of now, there is a small craft advisory in effect for the main Hawaiian Islands.