LAHAINA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update 2/5/15]
The Ocean Discovery has been recovered. The Pacific Whale Foundation said it successfully pulled the vessel by hand to the north loading dock in Lahaina on Wednesday morning. The vessel is secure and in good shape, but the state said a biologist will begin a damage assessment in the water as soon as weather conditions permit.
The Pacific Whale Foundation boat that ran aground in Lahaina Harbor Monday is still on the water but off the reef, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. It's anchored in a very shallow area over sand, so crews still need to figure out how to gently get it to deeper water.
A state biologist will assess the reef damage in the days ahead.
A 65-foot tour vessel that ran aground Monday is still stuck about 100 yards off Lahaina Harbor, according to the County of Maui. U.S. Coast Guard said crews would wait until daylight Tuesday to try and free the Pacific Whale Foundation's "Ocean Discovery." Pacific Whale Foundation said the vessel was returning to the Lahaina small boat harbor after a whalewatch eco tour, but came into contact with a sandbar, mid-channel, which caused an engine to stall.
Strong southerly winds began to push the vessel in a northerly direction off the sandbar, and the vessel ran aground on the rocky reef outside of the harbor channel.
Minutes later, Ocean Discovery was able to float free and approached the harbor, where passengers were able to safely get off. No injuries were reported, according to the Pacific Whale Foundation.
Lahaina firefighters and an Ocean Safety rescue ski arrived and found the vessel at around 3:35 p.m. at the north side of the harbor channel. Crews secured anchor lines to prevent the vessel from further drifting.
Authorities said the boat's fuel lines have been drained to minimize any possible leak. It's not known how much fuel is on board, but there was no smell or sheen in the area.