UPDATE: Grounded yacht scuttled at sea after it was freed from Honolua Bay
Update: 5:09 p.m., March 5, 2023
The DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation reports the yacht, Nakoa, was scuttled in 800 feet of water after it was freed from the rocky shoreline near Honolua where it had been grounded for nearly two weeks. “It had taken on water, was listing starboard and riding bow high after being pulled free by a tractor tug early this afternoon,” according to an update issued by DLNR.
Update: 3:42 p.m., 1:33 p.m., March 5, 2023
We have confirmed reports that the yacht that has been grounded at Honolua Bay for nearly two weeks is now freed from the shoreline. Additional images show the vessel tilting to one side as it was pulled further from shore and possibly taking on water.
The salvage ship, Kahi, operated by Visionary Marine LLC and a tractor tug, the Mary Catherine operated by Sause Brothers Inc., both based in Honolulu worked in tandem. A crew from the salvage ship rigged lines to the yacht Nakoa all day Saturday and this morning to prepare for the third attempt in nearly two weeks. Prior to the 3,300-horsepower tug hooking up, the salvage crew used a carbon cutter to free either the yacht’s prop or rudder, believed to be the reason earlier attempts did not succeed, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Today provided ideal weather and ocean conditions for the complex and costly operation. Once the tug turned the boat 90 degrees it pulled out into deeper water.
“The yacht was listing to one side and riding bow high and it’s unknown at this time whether it was successfully pulled all the way to Honolulu or had to be scuttled in 1,000-foot-deep water offshore,” according to a DLNR news release update.
DLNR Chair Dawn Chang watched the salvage operation with Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin. Chang said she heard almost immediately from Randy Cates, the owner and operator of Visionary Marine.
“I’m beyond words,” Chang said, adding, “I extended our appreciation to him and his crew for doing a tough, thankless job when others in the industry were questioning the wisdom of taking it on. We all thought today was it. It was either going to happen or not. I’m extremely pleased.”
Chang said the state will aggressively pursue recouping all salvage costs from the owner, in addition to the cost to repair damage to coral reefs and live rock. A team from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources will return to the grounding location this week to conduct a post-incident damage assessment.
*This is a developing story. Additional updates will be posted as they become available.
Salvage crews are preparing another attempt to pull the luxury yacht, Nakoa, off nearshore rocks at Honolua Bay on Maui today.
The salvage ship, Kahi, operated by Visionary Marine LLC and a tractor tug, the Mary Catherine operated by Sause Brothers Inc., both of Honolulu are stationed just outside the Honolua-Mokulē’ia Marine Life Conservation District for the effort.
The 94-foot, 120-ton yacht has been hard-aground for nearly two weeks since Monday, Feb. 20, after apparently slipping loose from a mooring in the bay.
Two earlier salvage attempts were not successful, when rigging attached to the Nakoa did not prove strong enough and failed.
A rigging crew from the Kahi worked all day Saturday and again this morning securing rigging to the yacht, which will be attached to the tug sometime during high tide, in hopes of freeing the vessel.
Today is providing the best weather and ocean conditions, for the complex operation to try and free the Nakoa, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“We continue to appreciate the patience and understanding of everyone who loves Honolua as well as the hard work being conducted by the salvage crews,” said DLNR Chair Dawn Chang in a news release.