78 ‘targets’ identified for removal from Lahaina harbor, nearby waters following Aug. 8 fire

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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 has completed the search for sunken, derelict or displaced vessels, along with associated marine debris from the Aug. 8 Lahaina fire, and has identified 78 “targets,” according to the US Coast Guard.

A target could be a sunken vessel or a large piece of marine debris.

The mission now has moved into the hazard mitigation and consulting phase, the second of four phases to restore Lahaina Small Boat Harbor and the surrounding waterways.

The Unified Command of the Western Maui Wildfire Emergency Support Function #10 is comprised of the Coast Guard, Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources.


It has selected Global Diving & Salvage as the primary contractor for the removal operations in Lahaina Small Boat Harbor.

The contract workers will assess the harbor and develop a plan — to be reviewed and approved by the Coast Guard — to remove hazardous materials and submerged vessels.

Once that step is complete, the contractor will remove identified hazardous materials, fuels and oil in preparation for removal of submerged vessels out of the harbor, with Coast Guard oversight.   

The Coast Guard and contract workers staged light equipment in Lahaina Harbor on Saturday. Removal of hazardous material is expected to begin later in the month, once cultural and archeological monitors are in place.  


The general order for vessel pollution mitigation and removal operations will be executed in a phased approach. Due to the uncertain nature of removal operations, some phases may occur concurrently.

Specific timelines cannot be generated at this time due to the dynamic nature of the response. 

Phase 0 was the pre-operations of assessing the situation, which has been completed. The Unified Command began working to identify and contact vessel owners to gather information about each vessel.  

Phase 1 – Hazard Mitigation and Consultation: This phase includes equipment staging, area assessments for safety and pollution concerns, and consultation with local, state and federal partners to create and formalize operational plans for the next phase. Cultural and archeological monitors will be in place to ensure operations are conducted respectfully. Monitors will continue to advise on cultural and archeological areas throughout all phases of the operation. 


Phase 2 – Right of Entry and Removal Operations: This is the physical recovery phase. Operations will include pollution mitigation and recovery, and removal of vessels and debris from the water to pre-designated staging areas. The Unified Command will closely coordinate with local authorities to facilitate access to impacted vessels for owners, operators, assessors and other stakeholders.

Phase 3 – Closeout:The final phase of vessel pollution mitigation and removal operations. The Unified Command, with the concurrence of local, state and federal partners, will determine that the mission assignment has been completed. 

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 authorized and funded this mission assignment for the Coast Guard, which was agreed upon by the State of Hawaiʻi and FEMA. 

Unified Command has created a Harbor Coordination Group to communicate with owners and operators of impacted vessels. Vessel owners and operators can contact the Harbor Coordination Group at [email protected]. 


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