Maui News

Molokaʻi community cleaned up debris from 50-foot pleasure boat grounded on reef

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The US Coast Guard and the Molokaʻi Fire Department rescued five people aboard the 50-foot grounded pleasure vessel Mega off of ‘Ilio Point in Molokai. PC: Coast Guard (10.3.23)

After heavy surf broke apart the 50-foot pleasure boat Mega that had grounded Oct. 3 on the reef off of ʻIlio Point, the Moloka‘i community came together to clean-up the debris that littered Pāpōhaku Beach.

Laura Kaakua, the deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the actions of local residents, who cleaned most of the vessel’s debris off the beach, made a big difference.

“This was a good example of a community and government coming together,” she said in a state press release.


The US Coast Guard and the Molokaʻi Fire Department had rescued five people aboard the boat, which began taking on water after running aground. Attempts to stop the flooding were not successful.

Two state employees who live on Molokaʻi responded: Brandon Joao with the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and James Espaniola with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The local volunteers collected most of the debris and placed it high on the shoreline. Espaniola has arranged a helicopter lift of the remaining, heavy items and bags.  


Staff of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation have been working to identify a salvage contractor able to conduct any additional cleanup.  

State law requires 24-hours be given to owners to remove grounded vessels before the state takes jurisdiction of the vessel and salvage. The boat owner had indicated he had insurance, but it turned out he did not have salvage coverage.  

The state Division of Aquatic Resources is standing-by to conduct marine surveys to assess any damage to the coral reef. 


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