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State: Derelict sailboat near Lahaina Harbor to be removed

By Staff | Mar 1, 2012

The Dolphin ran aground on Halloween night in 2004.

LAHAINA – After more than seven years, the state plans to remove the wrecked sailboat near Lahaina Harbor.

The steel-hulled Dolphin ran aground in front of the Front Street seawall on Halloween night in 2004.

Last week Thursday, Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, said Cates International Marine Salvage will remove the vessel within the next two weeks.

The $67,000 job will involve cutting apart the hull above the line of marine growth and lifting the pieces away by helicopter.

A portion of the hull will remain submerged. Ward wasn’t sure if a buoy will be installed to mark the wreck.

Fifth District Sen. Rosalyn Baker of Lahaina said, “Glad to know that this eyesore will finally be gone from our waters.

“Seven years is too, too long for this derelict to have been neglected, especially after Rep. (Angus) McKelvey and I got funds to remove the Dolphin and found willing contractors to do the job!”

Tenth District Rep. McKelvey of Lahaina has been trying to get the boat removed for five years.

“Roz and I have been trying to get this thing off the reef for years and were always stymied by the previous administration,” McKelvey said.

The Democrats secured $180,000 to remove the boat, but Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration refused to release the money, he added.

Two bills were introduced this session that included removal of the Dolphin.

McKelvey also met with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s chief of staff, Bruce Coppa, to stress the importance of Lahaina Harbor projects.

“I explained that Lahaina Harbor is the biggest small harbor in the state and the number one generator of revenue for the small boating program; so, therefore, it is not only a top priority for the community but also critical to the state given the importance of the harbor,” McKelvey commented.

The upcoming job will preserve coral and marine growth attached to the Dolphin.

“Because of the time, the coral has grown around the steel hull which embedded in the reef and is home to all sorts of critters… it was decided the best, quickest thing to do was to remove the top of the vessel which is the eyesore and the navigation hazard,” McKelvey said.

The project’s price tag has dropped from $180,000, since only the top will be removed in sections.

“We plan to monitor the progress of the work – as we have been doing – to ensure that we can finally see this through,” McKelvey concluded.