Kilo Moana Research Vessel Returns Safely After Taking On Water

Vessel Was Scheduled For Maintenance, No "Significant" Impact On Research

 UPDATED 10:47 PM HST Jan 07, 2012
HONOLULU -

A University of Hawaii science research ship is back in port Saturday after it sprung a leak about 69 miles north of the islands.

The Kilo Moana spent most of the morning offshore of Oahu, as divers inspected a baseball-sized hole on the hull.

The hole caused water to pour into the ship at 400 gallons a minute on Friday.

The vessel was travelling with a crew of 40 people on board, 20 with the boat crew and 20 students, scientists and technicians.

Officials say a pump on board the vessel was overwhelmed by the water and got flooded.

The emergency sent the Coast Guard out with additional pumps and personnel to bring the ship back safely to shore.

A Coast Guard plane dropped off two more pumps and the boat's captain was able to patch the hole to slow down the amount of water coming on board.

University of Hawaii Assistant Dean of Research Sandy Shor told us that although the vessel is used on a very frequent basis, it isn't expected to miss many research projects.

"Field operations are the basis of oceanography research, we have to have current information," Shor said. "And the ship runs 250-300 operating day a year."

The ship had just embarked on a five-day voyage when it ran into trouble. It is ten years old and was going to be docked next month for maintenance.

The University has another ship that could handle some of the ocean studies if necessary.

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