The owner of 196-foot M/Y Formosa could face a misdemeanor charge and possibly a large fine for damage to coral caused by the vessel when it anchored in coral in shallow water close to the pier in Kailua Bay, Hawaii, on October 2.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) was called on Tuesday about the boat, according to the department. As soon as the DOBOR manager heard about the situation, he contacted the ship’s agent. The captain had been informed that he was “anchored in coral, in too shallow water, and too close to the Kailua Pier navigation channel.”
Formosa had stopped for a one-day visit about a week ago and had anchored in deeper water with a sandy bottom. “Unfortunately, there was a change of crew and a new captain. He was not informed of a proper location to drop anchor,” says Dan Dennison, senior communications manager of DLNR. “The DOBOR manager advised the captain it was his responsibility to not damage the environment when dropping anchor.” The captain moved the vessel to a different anchorage safely in sand in 100 feet of water.
DOBOR notified the Divisions of Aquatic Resources (DAR) after they received the complaint. The DAR performed three dives on Formosa’s two former anchorage spots on Wednesday and were working on a coral damage assessment to give to the Divisions of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).
DOCARE officers in West Hawaii are currently investigating the incident.