Feb. 26—The defueling of the grounded yacht on Maui was completed today, and the task of salvaging the vessel will begin Sunday.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources in a news release today said the US Coast Guard, which is responsible for removing about 470 gallons of petroleum products, 14 marine batteries and other “hazardous substances” from the yacht, contracted a company to do the work.
The Honolulu-based Sea Engineering was retained by the USGS and hired Maui-based Pacific Helicopters Hawaii to fly 55-gallon drums of fuel from the boat to a staging area near the top of Lipoa Point, where they were transported by truck for disposal.
The 120-ton luxury yacht, called Nakoa, was grounded just outside the Honolua-Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District Monday morning.
“For the last five days we’ve been working with the contractors from Sea Engineering and Pacific Helicopters, starting with getting on the vessel and putting absorbent materials down to collect any free petroleum products,” said Chief David Jones, of the USCG Sector Honolulu , in a statement. “Then for the last three days we’ve had the flight operations. Folks on deck pumped any fuel, oil, and other materials out of tanks and machinery spaces into the barrels, where they were airlifted to land to be hauled off for proper disposal .”
It took longer to defuel the yacht because it was listing at the shoreline and fuel had moved into baffles in the yacht’s 2,400-gallon fuel tank.
“It took additional time to get into each of those compartments and either pump diesel out or use absorbent pads to soak it up,” Sea Engineering President Andrew Rocheleau said in a statement.
Now that the defueling process is complete, the DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is now in control of the vessel. It has contracted the Honolulu-based Visionary Marine to do the salvaging work.
The dirt road leading to Lipoa Point that has been closed during the defueling will remain closed during salvage operations, the DLNR said.