A former Navy vessel released an oily sheen into the water while a passenger ferry apparently missed channel markers and ended up stuck.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Coast Guard and salvage contractors have been responding to two large vessels that were grounded on Maui as of Thursday afternoon.
The 85-foot former Navy torpedo boat Chaparral is resting on Sugar Beach in North Kihei while the Expeditions Lanai ferry grounded outside the Maalaea Small Boat Harbor, according to a DLNR news release.
In the case of the Navy vessel, the grounding happened on Jan. 9. No one was onboard at the time but the vessel sustained a breach to its hull and released an oil sheen into the water, the Coast Guard said in a separate release.
The Coast Guard told the vessel owner to take action to remove pollutants but the “owner was unable to do so,” the federal agency said.
A contractor hired by the Coast Guard cut holes in the boat’s decking to reach the hull so that over 6,800 gallons of oily waste, 14 55-gallon drums of soiled sorbents, batteries and other hazardous materials could be recovered, according to the agencies.
After the pollutants were removed, the Coast Guard transferred control of the vessel to the state.
“During this process, more holes may have occurred, so we’re not sure about the state of the hull at the moment,” said Ed Underwood, administrator of the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.
The division is seeking bids from salvage companies to complete the job which will likely entail cutting the vessel up on the beach next to a condo building and hauling the parts away. Officials considered having the Chaparral towed to Oahu but ruled that option out for fear the damaged boat might break apart en route.
The Chaparral’s owner has apparently left so the salvage costs will be borne by the state’s boating special fund, financed with fees and charges that boaters pay.
The registered owner the vessel is Justin Moore of Battleship LLC, said Dan Dennison, DLNR spokesman.
The Maui-Lanai ferry grounded on Monday morning, according to DLNR.
The captain “apparently missed the channel markers,” the news release said.
“Right now it’s physically sitting just on a reef, but we’re not quite sure whether it’s coral or rubble,” said Maghan Statts, assistant administrator of the Division of Boating and Outdoor Recreation.
The state is having a biologist, when the weather dies down, go out to assess the area just to make sure that it’s not sitting on coral.
The boat’s owner has already hired a contractor from Oahu and, weather permitting, a salvage operation is expected to happen Saturday morning.
Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.
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