Investigation Underway After a Cruise Ship Reportedly Maneuvers Close to Shore

Footage surfaced online showing Celebrity Edge navigating dangerously close to Hawaii’s Nā Pali Coast earlier this week. Local authorities are investigating the incident, including the possibility that the vessel violated Hawaiian laws designed to protect the coastline.

Aerial view of the lush, mountainous Nā Pali Coast with clear blue waters and waves crashing on the shore.
Nā Pali Coast in Hawaii

The Nā Pali Coast is easily one of Kaua’i Island’s most famous areas. With breathtaking beaches and sea caves, it became a reserve in 1983. Because of its cultural and ecological significance, the local government imposed legislation to control commercial activities in the vicinity.

Commercial vessels must maintain a 3,000-foot distance from shore and only certain vessel sizes based on passenger capacity are allowed inside.

Hawaiian law explicitly states, “In no case shall a commercial vessel having a passenger carrying capacity of fifty or more passengers be permitted to operate within the Na Pali Coast ocean waters.”

Despite these restrictions, online videos and photos show the 2,918-passenger vessel sailing close to the island, evoking concern among environmentalists and residents. Eyewitness accounts estimate that Celebrity Edge was around 1,000 feet from shore.

Meanwhile, those who saw aerial footage claim they noticed the 130,818-ton vessel disturbing the sand underneath, impacting the local marine environment.

“When the engines are churning as the ship is turning, it kicks up all of the sand at the bottom of the ocean. And when the sand settles on the coral, the coral dies. The coral needs the sunlight but when the sand chokes it, the coral dies,” explained local radio personality Lina Girl Langi.
Aerial view of Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Edge
Aerial view of Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

After receiving several reports regarding Celebrity Edge, the ship is now under investigation by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the State Department of Transportation, and the US Coast Guard.

Celebrity Cruises has yet to issue a statement regarding the controversial incident.

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