Navy calls device seen off Maui harmless
A 3-foot-long military device seen floating in waters off Maui is a nonexplosive training device, the Navy said yesterday.
At about 8 a.m. Thursday, the captain of the Maka Koa, a boat operated by Maui Dive Shop, reported a torpedo-like device floating off Maui's leeward coast, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Angela Henderson.
About 15 minutes after the call, the Coast Guard sent out a helicopter and a 110-foot cutter, which searched until 5:45 p.m.
"We searched the entire channel," Henderson said, but no maritime devices were found.
Using a photo from the dive shop, Navy officials determined the device is harmless.
"This item is nonexplosive and poses no hazard to the public or marine mammals," wrote Navy Region Hawaii spokeswoman Terri Kojima in an e-mail. "The device is a mobile target that is used for training purposes."
"It is not a torpedo," she said. Marine growth hindered officials from determining its origin, she said, adding that foreign militaries might also use a similar device.
If the object is found, the Navy said it will help recover it.
The Coast Guard is broadcasting a warning about the object to all mariners and is asking anyone who sees it to call the Coast Guard at 842-2600 or on channel 16. The broadcast will continue until Nov. 25, Henderson said.
Calls to the general manager of Maui Dive Shop were not returned yesterday.