Maui News

Defueling of grounded ferry boat off Lahaina begins

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Maui Princess defueling (May 20, 2024) PC: DLNR

Work began Monday afternoon to remove 2,500 gallons of fuel from a ferry boat that grounded just off Lahaina last week. The process of getting fuel, batteries, hazardous materials, and other items off the Maui Princess is expected to take a few days.  The boat broke from its mooring further offshore, last Thursday after a part reportedly failed. 

After everything is removed a salvage contractor will begin work to try and move the 100-foot-long passenger vessel back into deeper water, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

David Willoughby of Willoughby Consulting and Adjusting is leading the defueling effort. He believes it will take a helicopter nine to 10 trips to remove most of the fuel. “Compared to some other groundings I’ve been involved with, while in the US Coast Guard, and while owning my own company, this one is relatively easy,” he said.

The boat is hard-aground on what appears to be a shallow shelf of sand and rubble, according to DLNR.

The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources is providing expertise and guidance  for the removal operation, to minimize any additional impacts to important hard substrate and living corals in the area.

State officials say high surf continues along the West Maui coastline and that has made it unsafe for aquatic biologists to get in the water to assess any possible damage to marine habitats.

Maui Princess defueling (May 20, 2024) PC: DLNR


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