Tropical Storm Darby Claims Large Tour Boat Off Kona Coast

The Coast Guard is responding to the grounding of the Spirit of Kona on the island of Hawai’i, Sunday.
Kona Boat
Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Department of Natural Resources, Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation, commercial salvors and the owner of the vessel are working to develop a salvage plan.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse.

Kona Boat2

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at Marine Safety Detachment Hawaii, state agencies and commercial salvors have attended the scene to assess the vessel and reported a 120 yard by 53 yard non-recoverable rainbow sheen in the vicinity.

The vessel reportedly has a maximum pollution potential of 600 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, commercial batteries and 19.5 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. No wildlife was seen in the area or reportedly affected.

The vessel reportedly broke free of its mooring in Kailua Bay as Tropical Storm Darby passed over the region early Sunday. No one was aboard the vessel at the time of the incident. Sector Honolulu watchstanders have issued a broadcast notice to mariners reporting the vessel as a possible hazard to navigation.
Spirit of Kona
As the Spirit of Kona is a commercial vessel, operated by Blue Sea Cruises, the Coast Guard will investigate the cause the of the grounding and work with the owner to address repairs and operating requirements once salvaged. A notice of federal interest has been issued.

Tropical Storm Darby continues to impact the Main Hawaiian Islands Sunday. Commercial ports on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Oahu are closed. The Coast Guard encourages boat owners to take precautions with regard to their vessels by moving them to protected areas, doubling up lines and taking them out of the water as applicable.

Darby continues to move west northwest. Localized damaging winds of 30 to 40 mph can be expected, along with gusts of 50 to 60 mph or greater. Surf along east facing shores of Maui will be 8 to 12 feet. Surf along east facing shores of Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai will be 6 to 10 feet. Passing rainbands will bring periods of showers. There is a chance for intense downpours or thunderstorms to develop near Maui county, then spread to Oahu and Kauai later today. Additional rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches with local amounts up to 15 inches are expected with tropical storm Darby.

Hawaii Electric Light Restores Power to 900 Customers After Tropical Storm Darby

Overnight, Hawaii Electric Light restored electric service to 900 customers in various parts of Hamakua, upper Puna, and Kona that were impacted by high winds from Tropical Storm Darby. About 100 customers in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Leilani Estates, Kapoho, Orchidland Estates, Honokaa, and Kailua-Kona remain without power.

 Hawaii Electric Light crews work to restore electric service in Hawaiian Paradise Park.


Hawaii Electric Light crews work to restore electric service in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Crews worked through the night to repair damage to utility poles and power lines that was caused primarily by fallen trees, tree branches, and tree bark contacting power lines.

“Many of our employees have been working around the clock since Friday to prepare for the storm and to then safely restore electric service as quickly as possible,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, public information officer. “We know how difficult it is to be without electricity for a long period of time, and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”

Hawaii Electric Light expects to restore service to the remaining 100 customers tonight. However, it cautions that although the eye of the storm has passed over Hawaii Island, the weather forecast reports thunderstorms and heavy rain approaching the east side of the island. Lightning and moisture-soaked trees can make work conditions unsafe for crews. This may delay restoration efforts in areas impacted by the thunderstorms. Crews will continue to work to restore power to customers unless weather conditions become hazardous and unsafe.

The company also reminds the community that high winds and heavy rains may have partially-uprooted trees and cracked tree branches that can easily topple or break. Do not approach or touch a downed line as it can be energized and dangerous.

To report an outage, a low-hanging or downed power line, please call 969-6666. Hawaii Electric Light continues to proactively post outage notifications, including power restoration updates, on its Twitter account @HIElectricLight with the hashtag #BigIslandOutage.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Sunday, July 24, at 8:11 PM. It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes at a Maximum Height of 62 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 30 degrees above the East Northeast part of the sky.