Boat grounded in Kaneohe Bay may be stuck until Tuesday - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Boat grounded in Kaneohe Bay may be stuck until Tuesday

A grounded boat that environmentalists say has already destroyed 100 coral heads in Kaneohe Bay will probably be stuck for a few more days as crews wait until the right time to remove it.

Salvagers were planning on removing the boat on Sunday, but decided to hold off on the project because tidal conditions weren't ideal. Removing the boat at the wrong time could cause further reef damage.

Coral in Hawaii takes years to grow but only an instant to destroy, and the boat, a 40 foot vessel that has been stuck since Tuesday, is wreaking havoc.

Researchers say the grounding happened in an area where coral had been thriving.

"Right at the bow section there is a scar that is probably about 8 to 10 feet wide and 20 to 25 feet long maybe longer that has just dug straight through all the coral heads going down almost a foot and a half," Jason Durnin said Friday. "Most of them are just turned to rubble. It really looks like someone got a dump truck and dumped a pile of gravel on the reef there."

Coral reefs are a vital part of the ecosystem, but can get damaged or killed by invasive species and disease. The section where the boat hit didn't have any invasive species before, but now a concern is that an invasive algae will come in before the coral can re-grow, which will take years.

The state says contractors will try to remove the boat again tomorrow, but noted that it may be there until Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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