Kona Grounded Sailing Vessel Caused Limited Damage

The grounding of the sailing vessel Hawaii Aloha off Hualalai on the Big Island’s Kona Coast on Jan. 3, 2015 caused limited resource damage.
Sailboat salvage

This is the determination of a team from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) that conducted an in-water assessment of the area offshore of the grounding on Jan. 13.

Dr. Bill Walsh, the DLNR/DAR aquatic biologist for West Hawaii said, “The good news is this boat grounded on a bench area, so we didn’t expect to see any catastrophic damage to coral reef environments.  We did see some broken coral heads, but it’s impossible to determine whether the boat caused this damage, or they were impacted by the storm that resulted in the boat’s grounding.”  The DAR team did find debris scattered on the ocean floor, including relatively small pieces of fiberglass, cloth, eating and cooking utensils, and a few personal items.  DLNR will follow-up on the removal of debris discovered during this assessment. Hazardous medical waste was removed by non-DLNR divers shortly after the grounding.

The Hawaii Aloha, a 75-foot long, 84-ton, cement vessel was removed from the near-shore bench last weekend.  The salvage and debris removal work was conducted by Sea Engineering Inc., under a $150,000 contract from DLNR.  Dan Mersburgh, the acting Hawaii district manager for the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) in Kailua-Kona commented, “Sea Engineering did a good job and they did it quicker than I thought they could do it. They did it quicker than they thought they could do it.  So they did a good job.”  The company used a land based excavator to drag the vessel onto the beach, broke it up, and then dumped it into a truck for disposal at the county landfill.

Hawaii Aloha Salvage-Web from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

DLNR funded the cost of the salvage, as the insurance covering the Hawaii Aloha did not cover wreck removal.  This has prompted DLNR/DOBOR to institute a new policy, requiring vessels using temporary state moorings to show proof of adequate insurance coverage in the event of an accident or grounding.  “We are saddened that one man was lost at sea when the Hawaii Aloha grounded during the storm,” said Ed Underwood, DOBOR administrator. “To protect State of Hawaii taxpayers, we want to be sure that all vessels temporarily mooring in Hawaii waters have adequate coverage to cover incidents like this grounding,” Underwood said.

Parker Ranch Partners with NextEra Energy Resources

 Parker Ranch announced earlier today that Parker Ranch Foundation Trust (PRFT) has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. This agreement provides NextEra Energy Resources with long-term access rights to PRFT lands to develop renewable energy derived from PRFT’s wind resources.

“We have been aggressively seeking ways to reduce the cost of electricity for our community and our island by using the potential renewable energy resources available on PRFT’s Hawaii Island lands,” said Neil (“Dutch”) Kuyper, President and CEO of Parker Ranch. “During this time, we have also been seeking capital and technical expertise from potential development partners. We have been working collaboratively with NextEra Energy Resources for more than a year and believe that they are the ideal partner to utilize PRFT’s wind resources.”

In 2013, Parker Ranch, Inc. commenced a utility-grade integrated resource planning effort with assistance from Siemens, Booz Allen Hamilton and Pace Global to evaluate alternative energy strategies for Parker Ranch and the surrounding communities of Waimea and North Kohala as well as the Island of Hawaii.

“Our work with Siemens identified several valuable scenarios utilizing PRFT’s wind resources, combined with storage, that could drive down electricity rates and cut our excessive vulnerability to volatile imported oil prices,” said Kuyper. “Reducing Hawaii Island electricity rates, slashing our reliance on imported oil and decreasing carbon emissions are all important to us because the cost of energy is tied to everything we do.”

Through its Paniolo Power Company subsidiary, Parker Ranch, Inc. is continuing to evaluate the merits of pumped-storage hydro and the economics of utility-scale battery solutions in the generation mix.

“Our community is inherently at the center of our mission and core values,” said Kuyper. “We will continue to engage our neighbors and friends in the process of pursuing our renewable energy and sustainability goals.”

The potential for renewable energy on PRFT’s lands is unique on Hawaii Island and in the State due to the size and scale of the wind resource.  PRFT’s mission is focused on the sustainability of the Waimea community, the hometown of Parker Ranch, by providing perpetual support for PRFT’s four Waimea-based beneficiaries.

PRFT and Parker Ranch, Inc. have recently completed comprehensive strategic planning efforts and each has decided to elevate the pursuit of renewable energy-related opportunities to be one of their highest strategic priorities.

NextEra Energy Resources is one of the largest developers of clean and low-cost renewable energy in North America and is the largest producer of zero-emissions energy from wind resources.