A boat aground off Kalepolepo Beach Park in South Maui appears to be breaking up as the state Department of Land and Natural Resources works to find a salvage company to handle the difficult removal.
The two-masted 49-foot sailboat Velero got caught on a Kihei reef Aug. 28, and the vessel's owner does not have insurance, said Deborah Ward, DLNR information specialist, on Monday afternoon. She did not have the boat owner's full name.
Without insurance and the boat owner unable to pay for the cost of removal, DLNR has to come up with the cost of the salvage operation from a special fund generated from fees paid by boaters, she said.
To compound matters, the boat has a cement hull, which makes the vessel "heavy and hard to cut up and remove," Ward said. The last removal of a boat like this took weeks, which adds to the cost, she said.
DLNR has been having a hard time finding a salvage operator to remove the vessel due to the difficulty of the boat removal and the cost, she said. Ward added that it is unusual for a salvage contract to take this long to secure.
"We are in discussion with a salvage company on a plan for removal," she said in an email.
There is no timetable for removal, she said.
There have been reports that the boat is breaking up with debris such as nails and screws washing up along the shore-line fronting the Village by the Sea condominiums near Waipuilani Park.
Ward said that the vessel appears to have broken apart and that the salvage contractor would be responsible for the cleanup.
She urged people to be careful and to report the washing up of debris from the boat to the Boating Division's Maui office at 243-5824.