Unexploded Ordnance off Lānaʻi Investigated
Aquatic biologists from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources conducted rapid SCUBA dive assessments of three underwater suspected unexploded ordnances off Lānaʻi’s south shore. The DAR assessment, on March 25, was to identify any potential UXO impacts on reefs and the marine environment.
The munitions were reported by two recreational divers. Based on the information provided by the divers, a US Navy EOD team sited the UXO, about 300 yards offshore, in water 74 to 94-feet deep.
The DAR dive team confirmed the probable WWII munitions. One, in 94-feet of water, is about 2.6 feet long and appeared to be mostly intact. This UXO is within 2-3 yards of significant rock bench and coral habitat.
The second UXO is in 82-feet of water, partially buried in sand and rock rubble. It is 2.6 to 3.3-feet-long and appears to be fully intact. A few small coral recruits and green algae are present on it and around it.
The third item is likely an empty metal pipe, that was treated as an UXO, for safety. It’s possible, according to the DAR divers, that there is another UXO in the same area, but they were unable to find it. The pipe is in 80-feet of water and has small coral recruits growing on it.
DLNR asked the US Army Director of Munitions and Chemical Matters to conduct a risk assessment on the Lānaʻi UXO. That report, along with the DAR assessment, will help inform decision making about the disposition of the UXO.
Navy Region Hawai‘i supports requests from DLNR and the State, for assistance in removing UXO. The Navy, in coordination with DLNR, works with federal and state agencies to ensure compliance with applicable environmental and safety regulations.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “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.” Divers are asked to avoid the area until further notice.