The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a 94-foot luxury yacht that grounded on a reef on the north side of Honolua Bay in Maui on Monday.
Eight boaters onboard the Nakoa were safely returned to shore by the Maui Fire Department.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is reporting that a sheen of diesel fuel was observed leaking from the yacht’s hull on Tuesday.
A Coast Guard Marine Safety Team is working with the owner of the vessel to arrange for the salvage and removal.
Due to the urgency of the response needed, the Coast Guard Federal On-scene Coordinator opened the National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, federalizing efforts to mitigate potential pollution to the environment. DNLR said this means that the yacht cannot be moved until all fuel, batteries, and any other pollutants on board are removed.
The organization said it’s likely to be another few days before the yacht can be freed.
Sea Engineering Inc., an Oil Spill Removal Organization based out of Honolulu, has been contracted to remove all potential pollution, and mitigate hazards to the environment. Sorbent materials will be deployed today to address pollution in the water.
The Coast Guard said it will continue to work with the State Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office and DNLR, Sea Engineering Inc., and the owner, to safely remove the vessel.
While the beach and waters remain open, responders are requesting people remain cautious in the surrounding area for safety.
“We understand everyone’s frustration with the grounding and harm to the reef at Honolua, a bay with abundant marine life that’s loved by many residents of Maui and visitors alike,” said DLNR First Deputy Laura Kaakua said. “Wednesday, the focus will be defueling the vessel, and then we can turn to efficient removal with the least additional damage possible.”
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