Salvage crews await favorable conditions to free luxury yacht from Honolua Bay
Salvage crews are waiting for favorable tide conditions to free the 120-ton luxury yacht, Nakoa, has been grounded at Honolua Bay on Maui since last week.
Higher tides are forecast late this afternoon and early evening, but may not be enough to refloat the vessel out to open water, according to state officials.
The salvage ship, Kahi, operated by Visionary Marine LLC of Honolulu is circling just outside the Honolua-Mokulē’ia Marine Life Conservation District, awaiting improved conditions.
The Kahi, arrived on scene shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday, and its crew has been busy rigging the Nakoa with ropes and straps. The yacht incurred several holes in its hull, after bouncing around on rocks in the surf for six days, official said.
DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation Administrator Ed Underwood 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.”
State Rep. Elle Cochran was debriefed on scene today by DLNR First Deputy Laura Kaakua who discussed Saturday’s defueling of petroleum products, hazardous materials, and marine batteries, conducted by Sea Engineering Inc., under the direction of the US Coast Guard.
State officials say initially it was hoped the vessel’s owner would pay for the recovery of his yacht, but he declined.
“We used emergency procurement rules and chose the salvage company that could respond the fastest,” said Kaakua. “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 Kahi 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,” said Kaakua. “When these things happen, especially with a vessel the size of the Nakoa, there are no local resources available to mount a speedy salvage… We all have worked together to resolve this grounding as quickly and safely as possible, and hope to report a successful salvage later today,” she said.