Missing boat found partially submerged

PORT ALLEN — The U.S. Coast Guard and Kauai Police Department are investigating a tour boat that was reported missing early Wednesday morning from Port Allen and later found damaged.

USCG Lt. Scott Carr of the District 14 Public Affairs Office in Honolulu said they received notification from Holo Holo Charters that one of its tour boats, a catamaran, was missing from its berth at the Port Allen Harbor at 5:40 a.m. Wednesday.

“The missing boat was spotted about a mile off Waimea Bay later in the morning,” Carr said. “When the operators responded to the find, there was no one aboard the vessel, and it was towed back to the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor.”

The Coast Guard licenses and regulates commercial boats in Hawaii, Carr added.

The stricken boat sustained an undetermined amount of damage. Holo Holo Charter crew members loaded pumps aboard the vessel to keep it afloat. Once the damage was assessed, a crew member said the boat would be repaired before being put back in service.

Carr said the Coast Guard is primarily concerned about two areas — pollution and vessel safety.

“Fortunately, no one was aboard at the time of discovery,” Carr said. “There was about 35 gallons of fuel aboard when the boat was discovered. There was no pollution, and the vessel was boomed off as a measure against pollution.”

Once repairs are finished, the Coast Guard will inspect it.

Holo Holo Charters management declined to comment.

Fisherman Brian Nagamine said it would be a shame if water access was restricted for everyone if the case turned out to be the act of vandals.

“People do this kind humbug,” Nagamine said. “And people like us suffer. Now, they’re not going to let us fish from the pier when the halalu runs.”

The Kauai Police Department is also involved in the investigation.

“There are still a lot of questions which need answers,” Carr said.

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