DLNR Monitoring Salvage of Grounded Vessel in Lāhainā Harbor
By Maui Now Staff
Two DLNR divisions are overseeing the salvage and removal operation of a Pacific Whale Foundation boat, the 65-foot-long Ocean Discovery, that grounded last Monday in Lāhainā Harbor. Both the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation and Division of Aquatic Resources are monitoring the situation to assess potential environmental harm and ensure repairs for any damage done.
According to DOBOR administrator, Ed Underwood, “The state’s interest is to recommend best practices to minimize any potential resource damage to fragile aquatic resources, to make sure no fuel or other hazardous materials leak into the water, and to hold the boat’s owner accountable for any fuel costs associated with environmental damage caused by the grounding or during this salvage operation.”
The PWF is currently determining which maritime salvage company to use for removal of the grounded vessel. Once the boat is removed, DAR will conduct an assessment of the reef and surrounding area to determine if any damages were incurred. A DAR aquatic biologist is on location in Lāhainā to make the assessment.
DOBOR’s Maui District manager is assisting in the salvage and removal operation in order to minimize potential damage. The removal is anticipated to begin once the US Coast Guard approves a removal strategy and weather permits.