Sunday, February 25

Yacht Runs Aground, Is Rescued, Sinks

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Two weeks after it ran aground, Nakoa, a 94-foot, 2004 Sunseeker, was freed from a reef in Hawaii and then sank in 800 feet of water before it could be towed to Honolulu, 90 miles away.

Nakoa’s problems started on Sunday, Feb. 19, when Jim Jones, who owned it as part of Neolani Yacht Charters, spent the weekend on board with his family. It was moored in Honolua Bay near the northern tip of Maui. Somehow the mooring line failed and the yacht drifted onto a reef near a marine sanctuary.

All eight people on board were taken off the boat safely, but the next morning it started leaking diesel fuel. The hull had been punctured. The Coast Guard, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Maui Police department all got involved, setting up containment booms around the boat.

Hawaii Dept. Land and Natural Resources

Ultimately, they hired a helicopter to airlift 55-gallon drums of diesel from the deck of the 120-ton boat and fly them to a secure spot on land. By the second week of the grounding, the helicopter had lifted 470 gallons of fuel and 14 marine batteries off the boat.

Two attempts to float the boat off the reef failed. Jones, who had just bought the Nakoa last December, declined to pay $460,000 to retrieve it. That decision gave the DLNR control of it, with the authority to bill him later.

Last weekend, the DLNR made the third effort to refloat the Nakoa, with the option of towing it to Honolulu or, if that was not feasible, to scuttle it in deep water. On Sunday, March 5, the tug was able to get it off the reef but, as it reached deep water, Nakoa started to list to starboard. Honolulu was way out of reach.

It’s not clear whether the boat sank on its own or whether it was scuttled. In any event, it sank to the bottom of the ocean.

Jones is still subject to fines for damaging the reef and coral structures in the marine sanctuary. Read more at and see the video below:









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