USCG: Lava Flow Obstructs Vessel Traffic off Big Island, Hawaii

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has established a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawaii, prohibiting vessel traffic in this area.

The temporary safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean from noon March 28 to 8:00 a.m. September 28 (local time).

“The Coast Guard has taken action to ensure public safety because of the danger the unstable sea cliff, volcanic shrapnel, toxic gases and potential bench collapses pose to vessel traffic and the public,” the USCG said.

As long as lava enters the ocean, further sea cliff degradation, hazardous conditions, delta construction and collapse are likely to occur. These collapses occur with little to no warning and cannot be predicted, the USCG added.

According to the US Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), large and dense fragments ejected during delta collapses can be thrown in all directions from the point of collapse, including out to sea.

Entry of vessels or people into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the USCG Captain of the Port Honolulu or his designated representative.

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