Coast Guard, partners responding to vessel aground off Maui

HONOLULU – The U.S. Coast Guard, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and County of Maui Police Department continue to work with contractors from Sea Engineering Inc and Pacific Helicopters to remove the pollution threat from the 94 ft vessel Nakoa grounded at Honolua Bay.

Earlier this week, contractors provided initial pollution mitigation, putting absorbent materials inside the vessel to capture any loose products, and placed a containment boom around the vessel to capture any further discharges. They also began staging equipment and prepping the vessel for defueling.

Defueling operations were well underway Thursday with contractors pumping diesel from the vessel fuel tanks into 55 gallon drums on deck. The drums were then airlifted by Pacific Helicopter and transported to a trailer on land where they were hauled off site for proper disposal. Over 270 gallons of diesel were safely removed from the vessel fuel tanks.

Today, operations will continue to remove additional diesel from fuel tanks, and other miscellaneous hydraulic and lube oils throughout the yacht. Additionally, 14 batteries will also be airlifted to shore and hauled away for disposal. Safety perimeter and access restrictions will remain in place today until pollution mitigation operations are completed.

The vessel ran aground Monday morning at Honolua Bay and began leaking fuel shortly after. Due to the urgency of the response needed, the Coast Guard Federal On-scene Coordinator opened the National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, federalizing efforts to mitigate potential pollution to the environment. The Coast Guard can use federal funds to remove threats to the ocean from oil and hazardous substance pollution. This does not include the salvage or removal of the vessel itself.

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