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$1.8 million fine contested

The owners of a luxury yacht which went aground on a Hawaiian reef are contesting a $1.8 million fine.

The yacht Nakoa went aground on a reef north of the Honolua-Mokulē‘ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District in February 2023.

The fine was imposed by the Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources for environmental damage inflicted.

The fine took into account biological and cultural damages, as well as ‘emotional distress to the community’.

Yacht owners Kevin and Kimberley Albert maintain there is no basis to impose liability against either them or their Trust because the grounding took place following the theft of the vessel.

It is also claimed that much of the damage occurred during the salvage operation, rather than during the grounding itself.

Paele Kiakona president of Save Honolua Coalition, has called the contest a further attempt to evade responsibility.

“Our community fully supports the BLNR’s efforts to proceed with the enforcement of the fine and to deny this petition, reinforcing our commitment to justice and accountability,” said Paele. “The owner’s continued attempts to deflect blame onto others, including the salvage company and individuals within their organisation, only underscores their reluctance to accept responsibility for their actions.”

The contest is due to be discussed by the Hawaiian Land Board on May 24.

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