Maui dive company assessed state's largest fine ever

A Maui dive shop has been fined $386,297 for damaging coral at Molokini Shoal Marine Life Conservation District off the island's southwest side.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources ordered Maui Snorkel Charters Inc. to pay the fine, which is the largest ever issued in Hawaii. The company also must pay $10,618 for the state's administrative costs.

The coral was damaged in September 2006 when the company's 32-foot boat Kai Anela sank after one of its bowlines became tangled in an engine. The boat's 15 passengers and crew were forced to jump overboard close to Molokini crater without life preservers, a DLNR report said. All were rescued.

According to the DLNR report, the sinking and salvage efforts killed or damaged 661 to 871 coral colonies over more than 2,000 square feet.

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