Mission set up to remove fire caused marine debris, destroyed vessels from Lahaina Harbor, waterways

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Many boats were destroyed by in Lahaina Harbor by the fast-moving fire on Aug. 8, 2023. PC: Cammy Clark (8.21.23)

Unified Command for the Lahaina fire in West Maui has established a mission to assess, remove and dispose of hazardous materials, oil discharges, marine debris and sunken or displaced vessels from designated waterways, including Lahaina Harbor.

The Emergency Support Function #10 Unified Command consists of the US Coast Guard, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources. This function allows for coordination of federal and state agency response.

“Our priority is to safely mitigate hazardous materials, debris and potential and actual pollution from the waterways surrounding Lahaina,” said Coast Guard Cdr. Melanie Burnham, the incident commander for this mission.


The Hawaiʻi Department of Health is working to oversee the removal and remediation of hazardous substances, such as oil, from waterways in Lahaina. This work is being led by Elizabeth Galvez, the department’s on-scene coordinator.

“We have been coordinating with our partner agencies to reach this point where we can begin the critical work of recovery for our waterways and natural resources affected by this tragedy,” said Ed Underwood, Administrator with the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

Ocean Legacy, a boat used by the Pacific Whale Foundation for eco adventures, is one of many boats destroyed by the Lahaina fire on Aug. 8, 2023. PC: Cammy Clark (8.21.23)

Assessment teams place highest priority on vessels actively discharging pollution and can take immediate action to contain the material and remove it from the environment.


Vessel owners impacted by the Lahaina fire may contact the Western Maui Wildfire ESF #10 Harbor Coordination Group at [email protected] and should include their name, phone number and vessel registration number in their email.

For media inquiries related to the Western Maui Wildfire ESF #10 response, please contact the ESF #10 Public Information Officer at (505) 433-8759.


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