UPDATE: Salvage ship will attempt again to free grounded luxury yacht from Maui coastline
Updated at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27: Today, the crew of the salvage ship Kahi is busy re-rigging the Nakoa with a stronger set of lines in preparation of a second attempt to move the 120-ton, 94-foot luxury yacht that rounded along a Maui coastline a week ago.
The yacht grounded just beyond the boundary of the Honolua-Mokulē’ia Marine Life Conservation District.
On Sunday afternoon and evening, the Kahi operated by Honolulu-based Visionary Marine made more than a dozen attempts at freeing the boat, but the rigging lines on the Noka broke during the final pull, in which the boat moved 10 to 20 feet.
A tractor tug Mary Catherine operated by Sause Bros. departed Honolulu Harbor this morning, enroute to Maui. Once on scene it will join the Kahi in further attempts to pull the grounded yacht into deeper water.
Like yesterday, salvage teams will wait until higher tide conditions later today before making additional attempts.
The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers are continuing to staff a roadblock at the top of the dirt road leading into Līpoa Point to ensure community safety until the salvage operation is finished.
Original story: Honolulu-based Visionary Marine used a salvage ship late Sunday to attempt more than a dozen “pulls” of the grounded luxury yacht Nakoa during high tide. In the dark, and on the final pull, the vessel moved 10 to 20 feet.
It’s estimated another 20 to 30 feet of movement seaward will be needed before the yacht is clear of the rocky coastline just outside the Honolua-Mokulē’ia Marine Life Conservation District on Maui, according to the Hawai’i State Department of Land and Natural Resources in a press release.
The crew on the salvage ship Kahi will return Monday morning to continue its efforts to move the 120-ton, 94-foot yacht that grounded one week ago.
The dirt road at Līpoa Point will remain closed until salvage operations have finished.
The salvage ship arrived on scene shortly after 10 a.m. on Sunday. Its crew rigged the yacht with ropes and straps. The yacht incurred several holes in its hull, after bouncing around on rocks in the surf for six days.
Before the salvage crew attempted its “pulls,” Ed Underwood, administrator of the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, said: “It is our hope that first pull will free the boat and allow the salvage company to pull it out into deeper ocean water.”
But that did not happen.
State Rep. Elle Cochran also was at the grounding location on Sunday with Laura Kaakua, first deputy with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. She detailed Saturday’s successful defueling of all petroleum products, hazardous materials and marine batteries, conducted by Sea Engineering, under the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Despite perceived delays in the response to the boat grounding, Kaakua said that her department began contacting Hawai‘i salvage companies, all of which are based on O‘ahu. She said initially it was hoped the vessel’s owner, Jim Jones, would pay for the recovery of his yacht, but he declined.
The state still plans to send him the bill, which will be $460,000 plus.
“We used emergency procurement rules and chose the salvage company that could respond the fastest,” Kaakua told Cochran. “While Sea Engineering was already on the scene for defueling, it had already committed to another project and did not have crew members available. It takes salvagers time to purchase specific supplies and equipment needed for an operation. Additionally, it took the ʻKahiʻ 12 hours to make the crossing from O‘ahu to Maui.”
Kaakua and Cochran discussed the possibility of having a publicly or privately owned salvage firm on Maui full-time to reduce response time delays.
“That’s a big issue,” Kaakua said. “When these things happen, especially with a vessel the size of the ‘Nakoa,’ there are no local resources available to mount a speedy salvage.”