The Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) has handed down a fine totaling $117,472 to the 94ft Sunseeker motor yacht, NAKOA following the grounding of the yacht in February 2023.
Featured Image Credit: DLNR
BLNR has tentatively accepted a settlement by the Albert Trust parties (those responsible for the yacht) to pay the fine in total. The grounding has caused damage to 100 coral colonies and over 1,900 square yards of live rock just outside the Honolua-Mokulēʻia Bay Marine Life Conservation District, on Maui’s west coast.
The Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) shared this statement following pushback on the low fine, “This fine reflects a conservative estimate of the amount required to compensate the State, that is consistent with similar coral damage fines. We realize that for the Maui community, especially those who cherish Honolua Bay, this settlement may be disappointing and not enough. However, under this tentative settlement with the Albert Trust, the State will receive almost $600,000 for the removal [of] the vessel, coral damage, and administrative fines. We will continue to aggressively pursue those who harm our cultural and natural resources,” shared DLNR Chair, Dawn Chang.
The grounding is a result of the yacht detaching from its mooring back in February, where it then became grounded on the shore creating damage to the live rock and coral colonies below. The yacht was under the control of Jim Jones at the time with the BLNR reserving the right to possibly bring further action against Jones for their role in the grounding.
Initial salvage costs were paid by the owner’s boat insurance and are said to have cost in excess of $450,000.