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Accident Report Detail

​Marine Accident Brief: Grounding and Subsequent Breakup of Small Passenger Vessel Spirit of Kona

Executive Summary

​About 0220 on July 24, 2016, in tropical storm conditions, the 70-foot-long small passenger vessel Spirit of Kona broke loose from its mooring in Kailua Bay on the island of Hawaii. About 10 minutes later, after drifting across the bay, the vessel grounded on lava rocks. Under continuous wave action, the Spirit of Kona broke apart and subsequently sank. No one was on board at the time. The vessel’s fuel and lube oil tanks ruptured and about 275 gallons of oil spilled into the sea and onto the rocks. The value of the Spirit of Kona was an estimated $1.1 million.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding and subsequent breakup of the Spirit of Kona was the failure of the vessel’s mooring equipment in tropical storm conditions. Contributing to the Spirit of Kona breaking free from its mooring was the failure of Blue Sea Cruises to take additional precautions to secure the vessel in advance of an oncoming tropical storm.

Accident Location: Kailua Bay , HI USA 19°38.2ʹ N, 156°00.0ʹ W
Accident Date: 7/24/2016
Accident ID: DCA16FM046

Date Adopted: 8/10/2017
NTSB Number: MAB1727
NTIS Number:  

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