Defueling of grounded luxury yacht at Honolua Bay on Maui begins today
The US Coast Guard is using a private contractor, to begin defueling the 94-foot-long luxury yacht, Nakoa, which grounded on Monday outside the Honolua-Mokulē‘ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District.
The grounded vessel’s location on rocks below a cliff requires the use of a helicopter to lift barrels of fuel from the boat, over a dirt road, and onto land where it can be transported offsite, according to state officials.
The work will result in the temporary closure of the dirt road near Līpoa Point off Honoapi‘ilani Highway. The closure goes into effect this morning and is being carried out by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources in collaboration with the US Coast Guard, and Maui Police Department.
The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement will provide ocean safety support, including a moving perimeter around the Nakoa as needed. Mariners and ocean users are advised to avoid Honolua Bay and Mokulē‘ia Bay today, as access may be restricted. MPD will block the dirt road at Līpoa Point to keep people safe during the defueling operation.
“Līpoa Point, Honolua Bay, Mokulē‘ia Bay, and the surrounding waters are treasured areas to Maui residents and the goal of DLNR and its partners is to keep everyone safe during this high-risk operation,” according to a department news release.
“All three agencies, along with the contractor, are working to remove the vessel as quickly as possible so that no further harm is done to the bay, and access can be restored,” the release said.
This comes after the County, Mayor and community members urged state and federal agencies to expedite the process.
DLNR reports this coordinated effort was developed through collaboration between agencies, and with Senator Angus McKelvey, Representative Elle Cochran, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, Council member Tamara Paltin, and the Save Honolua Coalition.