The Inertia for Good Editor

The Inertia

Maui County issued an emergency permit for use of equipment that could remove a 94-foot yacht from the reef at Honolua Bay Monday night. The Nakoa, which is owned by a Hawaiian yacht-charter company, was reportedly attached to an offshore mooring Sunday night. When the line broke overnight, the ship was pushed into Maui’s iconic surf spot, Honolua Bay, in the Honolua Bay Marine Reserve and part of the Honolua-Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District.

The owner of the boat, Jim Jones, apologized to the public while insisting no negligence was involved.

“It was a freak accident and the worst timing ever,” Jones told local news Monday night. “We couldn’t have done anything about this and we’re doing everything we possibly can to try to get off of here.”

According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), day-use moorings are limited to two hours in the area but Jones says he had no knowledge of the two-hour limit and stayed there for two days. Nonetheless, Maui County issued the emergency permit for removal and the rental business will be responsible for any of the costs associated with the removal:

“In response to the increasing risk of damage to the reef and ecosystem at Honolua Bay, a marine sanctuary in West Maui, the County of Maui exercised its ability to issue an emergency Special Management Area permit that would allow equipment to access the site via the shoreline and assist in dislodging the vessel from the reef it is resting on and enable it to reach deeper water to exit the area. The emergency permit, authorized by Acting Planning Director Kathleen Ross Aoki, was issued late this afternoon following discussions with West Maui Councilmember Tamara Paltin and the excavation company. This action comes after attempts during an afternoon high tide failed. The State must still issue a corresponding permit for the work that also involves DLNR jurisdiction beginning at the high water mark and into the ocean. We are pleased to be able to rapidly respond to a situation in dire need. The longer the vessel remains in the sensitive area the higher the risk of damage.”

The entire incident caused quite a stir on social media with locals calling for stronger enforcement of rules meant to avoid accidents like this. Concerns have ranged from possible fuel contamination to the risks of waves crushing parts of the boat into the reef if local authorities couldn’t execute a timely removal.

“On the west side, we’ve seen shipwrecks stay for years and months and that cannot happen this time. It has to be expedited out of there before there’s more damage to the reef, to the environment,” said Maui County Councilmember Tamara Paltin.

“We need to figure out some kind of systems and I’m pretty sure they have them on the boat, that once we start moving from our anchor point, we should have alarms that go off,” Jones told local media about the yachts. “That’s going to be something that we implement immediately to avoid this ever happening again.”


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.