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Home Hawai'i Statewide News Honolulu Contractor Pays Millions in Fines for Coral Damage

Honolulu Contractor Pays Millions in Fines for Coral Damage

by Thunda

Honolulu – In May 2021, a barge operated by Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc. was anchored near the entrance to Honolulu Harbor for dredging operations. In the process, the barge’s anchors and cables broke or damaged over 15,000 corals and 140-square yards of live rock.

Today, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved a settlement payment of $1,119,265 to be held in trust for the purpose of coral reef management and restoration on O‘ahu.

BLNR/DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “This contribution is significant, as are the actions Healy Tibbitts Builders took immediately after causing the damage. The firm has been cooperative and admitted that its dredging and anchoring operation was in error. It took immediate, emergency steps to restore portions of the damaged area and to mitigate further damage to State resources caused by the primary damage.”

On two separate days, following the initial damage report, divers from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted surveys to determine the extent of the coral and live rock injuries that occurred.

DAR Administrator Brian Neilson told the BLNR, “We were able to create a detailed map of the impact area that allowed for more thorough biological assessments of the damage, which followed, to document the coral and live rock damage.”

Neilson also expressed gratitude to the contractor for taking full responsibility for its actions and ensuring that its emergency restoration work was of the highest quality.

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