New safety concerns from wreckage off Waikiki

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A large fishing boat that ran aground off Waikiki three weeks ago is again raising concerns about safety.

The wreckage is still in the water and there’s still no word on when it will be removed.

The wreckage is sparking curiosity out in the water and we’re told people are putting themselves in danger because of it.

Brandon Tapati is a crew member for Mana Kai Catamaran in Waikiki.

He sails past the Pacific Paradise wreckage every day and said it’s turned into an underwater playground.

“We’ve seen people, climbing, jumping off of it, exploring, checking out the shipwreck itself,” Tapati said. “It’s dangerous and you don’t know what could happen.”

Tapati told KHON2 they see people exploring the wreckage a few times a week.

There’s a safety zone around the vessel that extends out 500 yards in all directions. Tapati said he’s also seen boats patrolling the area but that isn’t keeping people away.

“It puts a lot more responsibility on the lifeguards and the people that are swimming. If they get hurt then someone’s got to go out there and save them,” Tapati said.

We reached out to Ocean Safety which confirmed lifeguards have had to tell people to get off or stay away the last two days.

We also contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to find out if getting onto the stranded vessel is illegal.

We weren’t able to get an answer just yet, however a Coast Guard spokesperson told KHON2 people are urged to stay away for their own safety.

Other beachgoers said the boat is an eyesore too.

“It’s kind of shocking to see that the ship and that it’s been here for over three weeks now,” Michael Uptegrove said. “This is a big spot for us to come and surf and swim.”

One tourist we spoke to thought the wreckage was part of the scenery. Tapati said he’s had to explain it to tourists as well.

“People think it’s been there a long time when it only happened not too long ago,” Tapati said.

Bad weather and poor water visibility have hampered removal efforts twice.

Tapati is hopeful it’ll be gone sooner than later.

We’ll keep following up with the Coast Guard and let you know when the vessel is finally removed.

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