LIHUE >> The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has hired a contractor to remove a 55-foot sailboat that ran aground off Kauai earlier this month.
The department says it’s expected to cost $185,000 to remove the Kikimo from the reef at Moloaa Bay.
Contractor Sea Engineering initially planned to pull the boat off the reef and tow it. But boating officials became concerned the ship would break up and spread debris along the shoreline and reef. So the contractor will instead cut the boat into pieces for removal by helicopter.
Work is expected to begin on Wednesday.
Department boating division staff have already removed hazardous materials from the vessel.
The mooring permit of the last known registered owner expired in January.