State briefs for December 8

Wrecked boat towed off reef

HONOLULU (AP) — A commercial fishing vessel that ran aground and later burned and leaked fuel just off the beaches of Waikiki was towed out to sea Thursday and will be sunk to about 1,800 feet nearly 13 miles offshore by a team of salvage workers.

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After being patched up and filled with foam to regain buoyancy, the 79-foot Pacific Paradise was hooked to a tug boat and hauled into deeper water as a crowd of people on the beach cheered.

An attempt to tow the boat to sea Wednesday failed after it became stuck again in a shallow, sandy area about 600 feet away, forcing salvagers to wait until high tide Thursday morning.

Officials say there could still be up to 1,500 gallons of fuel remaining on the boat when it sinks.

The boat smashed into the shallow reef just before midnight Oct. 10 a few hundred yards offshore. Days later, it caught fire as a salvage team prepared it to be towed, causing extensive damage that slowed its removal and sent fishing hooks, fuel and oil into the ocean.

State says not to eat fish from Kaneohe Bay

HONOLULU (AP) — State health officials issued an advisory telling people not to eat fish or shellfish caught in the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii fuel pier and marina area because of unsafe levels of contaminants.

Tests from two species of whole goatfish caught in the area indicate unsafe levels of man-made organic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls, according to the state Department of Health. A sampling of soil in the area also found levels of the contaminant above Environmental Protection Agency and state guidelines. The state issued the advisory Wednesday.

An ongoing investigation by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps has shown the likely sources of the contaminants to be from electrical transformers that might have leaked PCB-containing fluids into the soil at the salvage yard used to store excess construction materials in the 1940s and 1950s.

The advisory will remain in effect until further notice for more extensive sampling.

Ige announces new director of tax department

HONOLULU (AP) — Gov. David Ige introduced a new director of the state Department of Taxation following the resignation of Maria Zielinski.

Ige on Wednesday named Linda Chu Takayama the new director, a day after Zielinski announced her resignation.

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Takayama is a lawyer who serves as Ige’s director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. She previously served as the state’s insurance commissioner.

Zielinski resigned in the wake of a report that revealed state tax officials instructed a supposedly independent consultant on which subjects it should address in its monitoring reports on the progress of a new $60 million tax computer system.