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Sailboat to be removed

LIHUE — A contractor has been hired to remove a sailboat that ran aground in a secluded area on a reef at Moloaa Bay April 1.

Marine salvage contractor Sea Engineering will need to cut up the 55-foot ketch Kikimo and carry the pieces away with a helicopter because of the vessel’s ferrocement — reinforced mortar or plaster applied over layers of metal. The original plan was to pull it off the reef and tow it to safe harbor, but officials were concerned it would break up and cause more damage as well as spread debris along the shoreline and reef.

Cost of the removal is estimated at $185,600, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a release. Work with the helicopter should start today.

“We do seek reimbursement,” said Deborah Ward, DLNR spokeswoman, of the boat owner who is responsible for the costs.

The mooring permit of the last known registered owner, Paul Wild, expired Jan 31. The vessel was then illegally moored at the Keehi small boat harbor and left Keehi around mid-March, the release stated. It later experienced difficulties with the new rigging and the motor, which eventually ran out of fuel. The vessel was able to sail a few miles east of Hale O Lono harbor on Molokai, where it was anchored and left unattended for a few days. When the owner returned to the anchor site with fuel, it had apparently broken free or dragged its anchor. It’s believed the vessel drifted for about a week toward Kauai until it ran aground.

DLNR boating division staff removed sealed paint cans form the boat. No hazmat materials polluted the water. Division of Aquatic Resources staff also went out to assess any damage to the reef.

“We appreciate the help of community members to remove items that were in the water and bring them to shore,” said Joe Borden, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation Kauai district manager.

Since 2002, DLNR/DOBOR has paid in excess of $1.3 million from the boating special fund (derived from boater user fees, permits, etc.) to remove grounded, abandoned and derelict boat from Hawaii’s nearshore waters.

DLNR recommends that an individual or group sighting an abandoned vessel call the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Honolulu at 842-2600.

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