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Boat ‘Spirit of Kona’ runs aground and sinks near Old Kona Airport Park

UPDATED (4:50 p.m. on 7/24/2016)

DLNR reports salvage efforts for the sunken vessel off the shoreline of the Old Airport Park in Kailua-Kona are nearly complete. Public shoreline access trails have reopened.

MEDIA RELEASE

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard is responding to the grounding of the Spirit of Kona on the island of Hawai’i, Sunday.

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Department of Natural Resources, Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation, commercial salvors and the owner of the vessel are working to develop a salvage plan.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse.

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at Marine Safety Detachment Hawaii, state agencies and commercial salvors have attended the scene to assess the vessel and reported a 120 yard by 53 yard non-recoverable rainbow sheen in the vicinity.

The vessel reportedly has a maximum pollution potential of 600 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, commercial batteries and 19.5 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. No wildlife was seen in the area or reportedly affected.

The vessel reportedly broke free of its mooring in Kailua Bay as Tropical Storm Darby passed over the region early Sunday. No one was aboard the vessel at the time of the incident. Sector Honolulu watchstanders have issued a broadcast notice to mariners reporting the vessel as a possible hazard to navigation.

As the Spirit of Kona is a commercial vessel, operated by Blue Sea Cruises, the Coast Guard will investigate the cause the of the grounding and work with the owner to address repairs and operating requirements once salvaged. A notice of federal interest has been issued.

Tropical Storm Darby continues to impact the Main Hawaiian Islands Sunday. Commercial ports on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Oahu are closed. The Coast Guard encourages boat owners to take precautions with regards to their vessels by moving them to protected areas, doubling up lines and taking them pout of the water as applicable.

Darby continues to move west northwest. Localized damaging winds of 30 to 40 mph can be expected, along with gusts of 50 to 60 mph or greater. Surf along east facing shores of Maui will be 8 to 12 feet. Surf along east facing shores of Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai will be 6 to 10 feet. Passing rainbands will bring periods of showers. There is a chance for intense downpours or thunderstorms to develop this morning near Maui county, then spreading to Oahu and Kauai later today. Additional rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches with local amounts up to 15 inches are expected with tropical storm Darby.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Message

DLNR reports a small vessel has run aground and sunk near the Old Airport Park in Kailua-Kona. The public is advised to stay out of the public shoreline access trails fronting Kailua Estates subdivision. Salvage operations are being coordinated with the responsible private party.

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