Investigation continues into Young Brothers’ containers lost off Hilo

The investigation continues into the June 22 loss of 21 cargo containers from a Young Brothers barge transiting to Hilo Harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday.

All cargo was successfully removed from the barge over the weekend, and it returned safely to Honolulu on Monday, according to the Coast Guard. A further damage assessment is being conducted on the Ho Omaka Hou.

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Of the 21 missing containers, 12 remain missing, the Coast Guard said Tuesday. One was initially located north of Hilo and sank while another washed ashore at Onomea beach, where it was refloated and towed to Hilo Harbor. The rest were recovered to Hilo Harbor and were removed from the water.

Early June 22, the operator of the tug Hoku Loa reported to the Coast Guard the loss of cargo as it transited from Honolulu to Hilo Harbor. Operations began shortly after that to locate the missing cargo and remove those containers still aboard the barge in Hilo.

Both the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident which is classified as a marine casualty. The agencies will produce their own reports.

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Young Brothers, which the Coast Guard said has “worked cooperatively” to address the situation, is conducting an independent investigation.

“We continue to work closely with state and federal authorities to determine the cause of the first loss of containers overboard in more than 20 years, and we look forward to sharing more information at the conclusion of the investigation,” said Director of Terminal Operations Chris Martin. “Young Brothers remains committed to connecting our island communities with reliable service and moving what matters most to Hawaii as safely as possible.”

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