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Catamaran Runs Aground North of Honokōhau Harbor

December 7, 2020, 2:58 PM HST
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Catamaran stranded off Honokohau Harbor on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. PC: Keller Laros

The Hawai‘i Fire Department rescued three adults and three children stranded on a private vessel Sunday afternoon.

The DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) said a 24-foot catamaran ran aground a quarter-mile north of Honokōhau Small Boat Harbor.

HFD Emergency Operation Battalion Chief William Bergin confirmed that at approximately 1:25 p.m. Sunday, an incident call came in describing the same vessel stuck on rocks approximately 200 feet from shore, also noting that passengers fired two emergency flares to indicate they were in distress.

Emergency units responded and assisted the six parties to the beach. No injuries were noted.

What caused the vessel to run aground was not included in the HFD report nor disclosed by the DLNR in its response to a media inquiry on Monday.

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Following the rescue operation, HFD handed the situation off to the DLNR. A spokesperson for the department said there was no more information available as of Monday afternoon.

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However, photo evidence from community members confirmed the boat was still stuck on the rocks following the rescue Sunday. It appeared to have been removed from the reef between then and late Monday morning, based on an in-person investigation by a Big Island Now reporter.

Bergin said fines accompany any damage to coral, as well as a fuel or oil leakage, due to a marine collision. Those fines are the purview of the State of Hawai‘i and the Coast Guard. Bergin said that based on the HFD incident report, there was no leakage noted. It remains unclear if the reef suffered any damage.

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