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HONOLULU (AP) — Most of the fuel on the 79-foot (24-meter) commercial fishing vessel stuck in Waikiki waters has been removed, the U.S. Coast Guard says, but officials are struggling with how to remove the boat itself.

The Pacific Paradise ran aground Oct. 10 with about 13,000 gallons (49,200 liters) of fuel as well as assorted hydraulic oils aboard.

The boat carried 19 foreign men and a captain, who officials said was the only U.S. citizen on board. All 20 people were rescued.

Some people fear damage to coral reefs and marine life will increase the longer the boat stays grounded, Hawaii News Now reported on Sunday.

The boat is no longer stuck on coral, but shallow waters are making salvage operations difficult, officials said.

Attempts to remove the boat have failed, one of which was done by a salvage company hired by the boat’s owners.

The company attached an 8-inch (20-centimeter) plasma towline and chain to the vessel and then a 5,000 horsepower tugboat tried to pull it free.

“It looks like they’re pulling it toward the wind sock, towards Diamond Head, which is where I think the more open water is,” said Eric Everett, who snorkels at the beach regularly.

The tug made several attempts, with the tow lines sending spray into the air. The Pacific Paradise turned just a little left from its original position, but not much more, Hawaii News Now reported on Saturday.

“I think it’s been pushed so far in, it’s in the inner reef and it’s going to be really tough to pull it off,” Everett said.

A fire on the boat last week also complicated its removal.

Multiple agencies will continue to work on removal plans.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials are monitoring environmental impacts.


Information from: KGMB-TV,