DLNR News Release-Friday Update on Grounded Yacht at Honolulu Bay

Posted on Feb 24, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(HONOLUA BAY, MAUI) – Work to remove fuel, other pollutants, and batteries from the grounded 94-foot-long luxury yacht Nakoa, will continue Saturday at Honolua Bay in northwest Maui.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and Maui Police Dept. will maintain the closure of the Līpoa Point dirt road tomorrow for continued helicopter operations. The road is expected to reopen as soon as the defueling process is completed.

USCG federalized the vessel, meaning it has jurisdiction over the yacht which cannot be moved until all potentially dangerous materials on board are removed. As soon as the process to remove fuel, hazardous materials and batteries is complete, the USCG will turn over control of the vessel to DLNR.

DLNR will take control of the vessel because the yacht owner informed DLNR that they are unable to contract and pay for the removal of the vessel. In preparation to take control of the vessel, the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) requested bids from experienced large vessel salvage companies. This afternoon, DOBOR selected the contractor with the lowest price and that could start work the soonest.

Visionary Marine of Honolulu will commence salvage operations when the USCG releases the boat. The State will bill the yacht’s owner for reimbursement of the $460,000 salvage cost, and for additional staff and administrative costs, and take legal action if necessary.

After completing its investigation, DLNR may impose fines for any violations, and also seeks to work with community to heal and restore the coral and bay and deter any recurrence.

“The grounding at Honolua Bay and harm to the reef that it caused is felt deeply by those connected to the special area of Honolua,  Mokulē‘ia, and Līpoa,” said DLNR Chairperson Dawn Chang. “DLNR’s duty is to conserve the natural and cultural resources of Hawaiʻi, so when the owner of a grounded vessel refuses to pay for removal, and the vessel poses a continued risk to natural and cultural resources, we must step up and contract for the removal ourselves. Our natural and cultural resources come first.”

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)


HD Video – Nakoa, Honolua Bay (Feb. 21, 2023):



Photographs – Nakoa, Honolua Bay (Feb. 21, 2023):  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lmficasrdlk4pgu/AABQE2eEZcbWjUMjJjwaTXpRa?dl=0


Media Contact:

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0396

[email protected]