Hawai'i State News

Salvage of grounded luxury yacht from Honolua set to resume this weekend

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Nakoa salvage attempt (Feb. 27, 2023). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Salvage efforts will resume sometime this weekend as crews attempt to free the grounded yacht Nakoa from the near-shore reef on the edge of Maui’s Honolua Bay. 

Officials with the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources said weather and ocean conditions have improved, allowing for the salvage operation to continue.

“We continue to face a challenging set of circumstances with this salvage operation, and we have found it difficult to find qualified industry partners willing to do this work,” said Land Department Chairwoman Dawn Chang in a news release. “We truly appreciate the efforts of Visionary Marine LLC and Sause Brothers Inc., both out of Honolulu, for their willingness to help us with this very complicated job.” 

Nakoa salvage attempt (Feb. 27, 2023). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

The vessel has been hard-aground since Feb. 20 in very shallow water just outside the Honolua-Mokulē‘ia Marine Life Conservation District in West Maui. The 94-foot, 120-ton yacht grounded after apparently slipping loose from a mooring in the bay. 

Two earlier salvage attempts were unsuccessful, as rigging attached to the Nakoa did not prove strong enough and failed. 

The salvage ship Kahi and the tractor tug Mary Catherine plan to return sometime this weekend with stronger rigging in hopes that the yacht can finally be freed. The vessels have not been able to make a third attempt because of strong winds this week. The salvage team needs sea and weather conditions to improve significantly before they can safely attempt another. 


“We appreciate the patience and understanding of all the people who cherish the waters and environment of Honolua and Mokulē‘ia Bays,” Chang said in the release. “We want everyone to know that we and our partners are working as efficiently, as quickly, and most importantly as safely as possible to resolve this situation with the least amount of additional damage to the marine environment. We hope to have good news to report later in the weekend.” 

Nakoa salvage attempt (Feb. 27, 2023). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

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