Mystery at Sea: Inconclusive Findings in the Investigation of a Cruise Ship Spotted Off the Napali Coast in Kauai

Jun 3, 2024

The cruise line decided to add sailings along the Nāpali Coast after they could not stop at Lahaina due to the wildfires from the previous year. The DLNR understands that the cruise industry is aware of and sensitive to the concerns of local residents.

By The Maui News

KAHULUI – A thorough investigation by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) concluded that there was no evidence of the Celebrity Cruise Lines ship, Celebrity Edge, breaking any state regulations during its recent voyage near Kauai’s Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.

Officers from DOCARE on Kaua’i and O’ahu looked into an incident after reports on social media indicated a large ship with 2,908 passengers may have sailed too close to the shore, sparking community concern.

According to Hawaii Administrative Rules for the waters off the Nāpali Coast, there are limitations that prohibit vessels carrying more than 50 passengers from coming within 3000 feet of the coastline.

Upon the vessel’s return to Honolulu, local officers boarded the ship and spoke with the captain and ship’s master. The captain maintained that he retained full control over the ship, ensuring it remained in waters with a depth of no less than 30 meters, although he was uncertain about the exact distance from the coast.

The investigation on Kaua’i aimed to gather evidence from witnesses regarding the ship’s distance from the shore. However, they failed to conclusively determine if the ship breached the 3000-foot limit. Several witnesses chose not to participate, while others provided only hearsay or information seen on social media.

The cruise company decided to offer trips along the Nāpali Coast after they could not stop at Lahaina due to wildfires that occurred the previous year. The DLNR believes the cruise industry understands the issues voiced by the local community.

DOCARE concluded that there is not enough evidence to establish probable cause or to take any criminal or civil action currently.

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