HONOLULU (KHON2) — A rescue mission off the coast of Mexico seven months ago has become a headache for residents in windward Oahu.
A boat with a California sticker, but no name, washed ashore a Punaluu beach on Friday.
The boat was stripped of most of the items and most assumed a boat owner got into trouble as Tropical Storm Calvin was passing by the state.
But the United States Coast Guard confirmed the owner of the boat sent out a distress call back on December 12, 2022 while sailing to Guadalupe, Mexico from San Diego. The man was rescued and the boat was left behind.
After drifting thousands of miles, it’s found its way to Punaluu, just like a smaller boat did back in 2012 after the Japan tsunami.
“We contacted DLNR, and they did their assessment, and now it’s just been sitting here unattended,” said Windward Oahu resident Terry Galpin.
“For me personally, it’s the safety aspect of it. If it was further out I think it would still be an environmental issue, but this is a calling card for kids to play on,” she added.
The DLNR said there is no engine on the 24-foot Wayfinder so it’s not leaking any fuel or oil.
DLNR said the boat has a California owner, DOBOR said they contacted the owner who told the state he has no way to remove the boat and the state hasn’t issued any citations either.
The Coast Guard said their priority during a rescue is human life and it’s protocol to leave the vessel behind but the owner is liable for the vessel and has to pay for it.
The community wants to know who is going to get it off their beach.
“Today it’s calm so it’s stationary and tide is low but when that tide comes up and winds are blowing that boat is rocking, so eventually the keel is going to break and then what? That boat is going that way,” Galpin said while pointing north.
On Monday, DOBOR said they have found a bidder who will remove the boat from the beach on Tuesday and once it’s removed, will send the bill to the boat owner.