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Grounded sail boat removed from reef

Hawaii Aloha grounded on the reef near Kailua-Kona. (Photo courtesy of DLNR)

Hawaii Aloha grounded on the reef near Kailua-Kona. (Photo courtesy of DLNR)

MEDIA RELEASE

The grounding of the sailing vessel Hawaii Aloha off Hualalai on the Kona Coast on Jan. 3, 2015 caused limited resource damage.

This is the determination of a team from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) that conducted an in-water assessment of the area offshore of the grounding on Jan. 13.

Dr. Bill Walsh, the DLNR/DAR aquatic biologist for West Hawaii said, “The good news is this boat grounded on a bench area, so we didn’t expect to see any catastrophic damage to coral reef environments. We did see some broken coral heads, but it’s impossible to determine whether the boat caused this damage, or they were impacted by the storm that resulted in the boat’s grounding.”

The DAR team did find debris scattered on the ocean floor, including relatively small pieces of fiberglass, cloth, eating and cooking utensils, and a few personal items.

DLNR will follow-up on the removal of debris discovered during this assessment. Hazardous medical waste was removed by non-DLNR divers shortly after the grounding.

The Hawaii Aloha, a 75-foot long, 84-ton, cement vessel was removed from the near-shore bench last weekend.

The salvage and debris removal work was conducted by Sea Engineering Inc., under a $150,000 contract from DLNR.

Dan Mersburgh, the acting Hawaii district manager for the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) in Kailua-Kona commented, “Sea Engineering did a good job and they did it quicker than I thought they could do it. They did it quicker than they thought they could do it. So they did a good job.”

The company used a land based excavator to drag the vessel onto the beach, broke it up, and then dumped it into a truck for disposal at the county landfill.

DLNR funded the cost of the salvage, as the insurance covering the Hawaii Aloha did not cover wreck removal.

This has prompted DLNR/DOBOR to institute a new policy, requiring vessels using temporary state moorings to show proof of adequate insurance coverage in the event of an accident or grounding.

“We are saddened that one man was lost at sea when the Hawaii Aloha grounded during the storm,” said Ed Underwood, DOBOR administrator. “To protect State of Hawaii taxpayers, we want to be sure that all vessels temporarily mooring in Hawaii waters have adequate coverage to cover incidents like this grounding.”

Hawaii Aloha Salvage-Web from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

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