DLNR investigates unexploded ordnances off Lanai

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) sent aquatic biologists from the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to conduct rapid dive assessments of three suspected unexploded ordnances (UXO) off Lanai’s south shore.

The DAR assessment was conducted on Thursday, March 25, to identify potential UXO impacts on the marine environment.

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The suspected ordnances were reported by recreational divers and a US Navy team sited the UXO approximately 300 yards offshore in water that was 74 to 94feet deep. The DLNR chair said, plans for disposing of the UXO — or leaving them in place — are forthcoming.

“We will keep the Lana‘i community informed about any plans for these UXO, which could include leaving them in place. In the meantime, we ask people to practice the 3Rs (Recognize, Retreat, Report) when they see any suspect UXO in the water or on land.”

Suzanne Case, Department of Land and Natural Resources chair

The first UXO was found in 94 feet of water within 2 to 3 yards of a significant coral habitat and the DAR team confirmed it to be a probable WWII munition. The UXO appeared to be fully intact and was about 2.6-feet-long.

The second UXO was found partially buried in sand and rock rubble in 82 feet of water. The DAR team confirmed it to be a probable WWII munition and say the 2.6- to 3.3-foot-long UXO had a few small coral recruits and green algae on and around it.

The third item was determined to most likely be an empty metal pipe that was treated as a UXO for safety. The pipe was found in 80 feet of water and had small coral recruits growing on it. According to the DAR divers, there is likely another UXO in the area but they were not able to find it.

The DLNR has requested the US Army Director of Munitions and Chemical Matters to conduct a risk assessment that will help determine how to deal with the UXO.

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