Navy destroyer can’t enter Hilo harbor for Merrie Monarch visit

By Associated Press on April 11, 2015

HILO » A Pearl Harbor-based destroyer was waiting off the coast of the Big Island in hopes of visiting Hilo for the Merrie Monarch Festival.

The USS Chung-Hoon was expected to arrive Friday. But Navy spokesman Chief John Hageman says the ship’s commanding officer and the harbor pilot decided it wasn’t safe to pull into Hilo harbor because it was too shallow.

Hageman says the sailors were looking forward to attending the hula competitions and participating in the festival. He said the Navy was looking for ways for the sailors to come ashore.

Hageman said the Pacific Fleet Band was still expected to join the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday.

The ship is named for Rear Admiral Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon, the first Native Hawaiian admiral in the U.S. Navy.