Hawaii News

Investigation of cruise ship spotted off Nāpali Coast ends inconclusive

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A two-pronged investigation into a cruise ship sailing off Kaua‘i’s Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park earlier this month has ended inconclusive.

The Celebrity Edge cruise ship. (Image from the Celebrity Cruises website)

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement failed to find any evidence that the Celebrity Cruise Lines ship Celebrity Edge violated any state rules.

Officers on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu investigated the incident after social media posts showed the 2,908-passenger ship allegedly sailing too close to the coastline, causing community concerns.

Hawai‘i Administrative Rules for Nāpali Coast ocean waters restrict any vessels carrying more than 50 passengers and requires such vessels to be at a distance of at least 3,000 feet from the shoreline.


When the ship returned to port in Honolulu, O‘ahu-based officers boarded it and interviewed the captain and ship’s master. The captain said he was in full control of the vessel and was always in waters of not less than 30 meters depth. He was unclear as to the vessel’s distance from shore.

The investigation on Kaua‘i focused on identifying witnesses who could provide relevant information.

None of the witnesses could factually conclude the 3,000-foot seaward distance was violated. Some witnesses did not want to be involved in the investigation and others only had second- or third-hand information or repeated what they saw on social media.


The cruise line elected to include sailing off the Nāpali Coast after being unable to make port calls at Lahaina because of last year’s wildfires. However, it is the state Land Department’s understanding that the cruise industry is sensitive to concerns expressed by residents.

Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement determined there is insufficient evidence that supports probable cause or that there is clear and convincing evidence to pursue any criminal or civil action at this time.


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