Tuesday, April 20, 1999

State demands boat-
removal plan

The Van Loi owner has
72 hours to comply

By Anthony Sommer


KAPAA, Kauai -- The owner of the grounded fishing vessel Van Loi has been told he has 72 hours to come up with a plan to remove the wreckage from Kapaa Reef or the state will do it and send him the bill.

Howard Gehring, head of the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, said a letter went out yesterday to Vincent Nguyen of Honolulu, owner of the 95-foot vessel that went aground April 10.

Gehring said Nguyen did not respond to a demand letter that was issued the day of the grounding.

With the beach cleanup nearly complete, the U.S. Coast Guard is finishing its involvement. The Coast Guard report on the grounding is expected in about three weeks.

The state Health Department on Saturday reopened four miles of beaches on east Kauai that had been closed due to the spill of 16,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

An assessment last week by the state Division of Aquatics concluded little harm was done to fish or marine invertebrates by the fuel spill. But the vessel tore out a large section of reef when it was blown ashore by heavy tradewinds after its engine room flooded.

The Van Loi broke up in the surf at midweek and the remaining pieces continue to grind on the reef. The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is responsible for dealing with what remains of the ship. Gehring said yesterday that if Nguyen does not come up with an acceptable plan, the state will have to remove the wreckage. Private contractors have submitted proposals, he said.

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