- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is hiring a contractor to remove a 40-foot sailboat that ran aground on a Big Island reef.

The department said Tuesday the California owners of the boat SEAQUEL don’t have vessel insurance and can’t afford to salvage the boat.

Preliminary work is expected to start Wednesday. The vessel will be moved to land Thursday if surf conditions allow.

The department wants to move the boat soon to prevent further reef damage.

The ship ran aground off the Old Kona Airport park at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

The department recently strengthened its ability to penalize people who intentionally or negligently damage coral.

Department spokeswoman Deborah Ward says it’s too early to say whether officials will investigate the boat’s owners for damaging coral.



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