On Monday, February 20, a 94 ft luxury yacht hit a reef and ran aground in Honolua Bay. The vessel accidentally pumped out some diesel while under salvage on February 22.
Initially, the salvage company Sea Engineering, Inc. was hired to remove the fuel and the grounded ship, but after today’s oil spill, the Coast Guard will use sorbent materials to clean up.
The National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund created based on taxing oil producers for these oil spills, will be used for this purpose, said the Coast Guard.
Division of Aquatic Resources will ascertain the cost of repairing fees or fines the shipowner has to pay after the Department of Land and Natural Resources inspect the damages to the coral reef and the rocks of the area.
Meanwhile, the shipowner clarified that there was no oil spill, just seawater flooding the engine room, making it pump out diesel. He revealed that the pumps were shut off almost immediately.
It’s estimated that the fuel will be drained out by Thursday morning, and the ship will be removed, latest, by the weekend. The vessel was immediately handed over to the coast guard once they found fuel was pumping out, and the coast guard entrusted the salvage company with it.
They are planning to conduct the defueling on land. A helicopter would be posted near the bottom of the cliff, and they would be flying out drums of fuel, and then the yacht will be pulled off from the sea.
The shipowner has made it clear that he didn’t know about this land-based approach of the salvage company and was unwilling to do it.
Enraged community members say the diesel should have been drained from the ship first, terming it “a major state fail”.
8 people were onboard the vessel when it ran aground, and all were safe. The beach and the water in the area are open to the public, although people have been asked to tread cautiously
References: Yahoo News, USA Today