By Wendy Osher
Eight years after becoming stuck on a reef off of Lahaina, Maui, the “Dolphin” vessel was finally carted away in pieces by helicopter at around 11 a.m. today, according to state officials.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources hired Cates International Marine Salvage as a contractor to remove the 30-foot vessel. The pieces were flown to Mala Ramp and placed on a truck for disposal.
“Since the beginning of March Cates has been cutting up the steel hull down to the “mud line” where it is embedded in coral,” said DLNR spokesperson Deborah Ward.
“Portions of the boat that are fast in the coral will be left in the reef to avoid damaging coral,” said Ward. If the remnant of the embedded boat is close to the surface, a hazard buoy will be installed at the location.
According to Ward, the removal is being done in conjunction with the $1.1 million Lahaina Harbor dreding project.
The boat had become an eyesore over the years, but lack of funding in the past prevented its removal.
Bystanders watched the removal effort from shore saying it took about an hour to get all the pieces out, and seven trips back and forth.
***Video courtesy: Rick Momsen.