Bad weather delays salvage of yacht Nakoa still stuck on Maui near-shore reef
Heavy seas, pounding rain and gusty winds are making it unsafe for salvage crews to return to Honolua Bay on Maui to make another attempt at freeing a 120-ton, 94-foot luxury yacht stuck on the near shore reef.
The salvager, contracted by the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, returned to O‘ahu late Monday after the rigging attached to the yacht Nakoa failed.
Ed Underwood, division administrator, said: “Everyone’s safety remains our top priority and until the weather and sea conditions improve, we simply cannot put anyone at risk during a salvage operation.”
Underwood said it’s expected the salvage ship Kahi, operated by Visionary Marine, and the tractor tug Mary Catherine, operate by Sause Brothers, will return to Maui on Friday or Saturday.
The rigging that failed on Monday night was being pulled by the tractor tug.
“When conditions improve, the vessels will return to Honolua Bay with stronger rigging,” Underwood said.
This is not good news for the owner of the luxury yacht, Jim Jones. The original estimate of the salvage was $460,000 plus, but that is sure to go up the longer the salvage efforts continue.
The yacht is just outside the the Honolua-Mokulē‘ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. Although the area has day-use moorings with a time limit of two hours, Jones told media that he didn’t know the rules and stayed overnight with his family when one of the lines snapped and the boat hit the rocks more than a week ago.
Officers from the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement continue to maintain an around-the-clock presence at the entrance to the dirt track at Līpoa Point, also for public safety.