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Billionaire's yacht yucks things up for another

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Mar 20 2013 11:16:00 PM HST

 A gas spill brought hazardous material crews to Kewalo Basin in Hawaii late Wednesday afternoon, and a billionaire has to foot the bill for its cleanup.

HONOLULU -

A gas spill brought hazardous material crews to Kewalo Basin, and a billionaire has to foot the bill for the cleanup.

It is not often a pair of yachts belonging to billionaires are docked in the islands, but at Kewalo Basin, Larry Ellison's Rising Sun is just across the water from Google co-founder Larry Page's mega-ship Senses.

The Rising Sun is more than twice the length of the Senses, but the smaller 193-foot yacht came with a helipad and helicopter.

On Wednesday afternoon, barrels of aviation fuel for the helicopter were being loaded onto the ship when dozens of gallons of fuel were spilled.

The fuel stayed on the surface of the water and sent a gaseous stench across the harbor. The odor brought emergency crews out.

"It's volatile, but the fumes are noticeable. We assessed with our hazardous materials crews using air monitoring equipment and found no flammable hazard. There was no toxic hazard," said Capt. Terry Seelig, with the Honolulu Fire Department.

Because of the southerly winds, the noxious odor was sent directly over to Ellison's mega-ship.
No determination was made on why the fuel spilled, but one yacht ended up making a big stink for the other.

"I think its coincidental that they both were involved in this mishap. One being the source, the other being in the plume, so to speak," said Seelig.

Once it was determined there was no danger, of the spilled fuel catching on fire, the cleanup began.

Click here to see photos from the scene.

Crews went out into the water to mop up the fuel floating on the surface and absorbent materials were placed around the Rising Sun.

Specially trained personnel were also brought into get to fuel that floated under docks and parking areas.

Whoever caused the spill is responsible for the cost of the clean up. So along with paying to clean up the harbor, Page just may have to write Ellison a check for the mess.

No one was hurt in the spill and there weren't any visible signs of pollution problems, but it is not yet known what impact the fuel had on wildlife in the water.

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