Now take a look at a map of Hawaii. There are only two ways to get around the state from one Island to another or to the mainland, ship or plane.
So, great for Hawaii, right? Apparently most people think so. Inaugural trips quickly sold out. However, there is a small minority that has gone bananas over this new service to the point of blockading the ships, threatening the passengers and damaging their cars.
These disruptors didn’t just threaten other Hawaii families. Monday night, when the Hawaii Superferry attempted its second-ever landing on Kauai, protesters raised the stakes by using their own children as human barricades, encouraging their youngsters to paddle surfboards in front of the Superferry as it moved into the harbor. State officials say protesters reportedly threatened to toss their children from the pier into the Superferry’s path if the vessel wasn’t stopped. Coast Guard officials mounted on small boats unsuccessfully chased after 50 or so protesters who darted quickly from their reach via various watercrafts. The conflict quickly descended into lawlessness, as county, state and federal law enforcement were unable to bring calm to the chaos either on land or in the harbor waters. - Hawaii Reporter
Well 'unable' is probably the wrong word. More like they were unwilling to take control of the situation. The protesters managed to run rampant both on the water and ashore. If the protesters really did threaten to endanger their children, that is surely grounds enough to take the children away, or at the very least change them with child endangerment.
Even the Coast Guard opted out of securing the port area.
USCG can't ensure ferry safety - KAUAI - 30 August – The US Coast Guard says potential danger from a protest flotilla in Nawiliwi, Kauai is too severe for it to ensure the safety of Hawaii Superferry's Alakai. Protesters aboard surfboards blocked the vessel's path on Sunday and the anticipated continuation of that watereborne protest prompted the decision by the USCG, which subsequently forced Hawaii Superferry to discontinue service to Kauai indefinitely. USCG Honolulu Captain of the Port Vince Atkins said in a statement: "The USCG is committed to safety and security and enforces all applicable laws in the maritime environment" but "in this instance, the risk level was too high for the vessel, its passengers and for the protesters." By law, no unauthorised persons or vessels are allowed within the 91m security zone of the ferry; any violaters are subject to a fine of $32,500/violation, with additional violations bringing up to 10 years in jail. Atkins explained that the USCG is authorised to use 'minimum force' to police the security zone law against protesters, and "we have used the minimum force necessary to ensure safety to this point". But the potential risks of additional waterborne protests spurred the decision by the USCG to recommend against Kauai calls on safety grounds. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii Superferry president John Garibaldi found it "alarming" that the USCG could not ensure the ship's safety. - Fairplay Daily News
The Coast Guard is responsible for port security. The way I read their comments above, it sounds like they have surrendered to the protesters.
Take this reckless protester. The vessel can't even see where he is. If the vessel needs to maneuver to avoid going aground, then they will do so to protect the vessel and the passengers on it. Was this protester arrested? Not likely. That however, is how you stop this type of behavior. You warn them of the penalties for breaking the law. Then you start arresting them. You don't need to get all of them. But you will stop most from being as foolish allowing you to better concentrate on those who remain.
It might be that the ferry service was not interested in bad press from strict law enforcement. If they did this to a cargo ship the crew would most likely have responded with fire hoses. In a fight like that the surfer loses.
From what I can tell, the assessment would have had to be done covering the addition of the car ramps needed in the port for the ship to load vehicle traffic. This is a really idiotic technicality, but it has been used pretty effectively by the protesters, with the bonus of great timing by the court to inflict the most financial damage on the company. (Let that be a lesson to anyone who want to do business in Hawaii...)
As far as the environment goes, there is a damn volcano in the state spewing out greenhouse gasses 24/7, the State relies on sea and air traffic more than any other. Then there are these protesters wasting gas to go surfing and protesting. (None of which were required to do an environmental assessment to justify their need to buy a car.) But there is more to this protest than just concern for the environment. There is the moonbat factor.
Under the surface of the protest, you see the odd sign "Stop the Superferry and Strykers" and even "Exposing your children to Depleted Uranium Dust? Shame on you."(Here).
Go read their post "Report from the ferry: Stand-off at Nawiliwili Harbor" for the rundown.
This group of protesters (while supporting the troops) is protesting the Superferry because the US Army might use it to move from one island to the other. By doing so, it will be contaminating the islands because the vehicles may be carrying or may have fired depleted uranium ammunition. So it appears to be the moonbats (A very small, violent, irrational minority creating chaos) who are driving the protests against what is probably a service that will result in a great improvement in the quality of life for many islanders. The problem with this angle is that the Army is going to move the vehicles where it wants whether the Superferry is operating or not.
Currently this whole mess is in the courts. I would expect that to be cleared up quickly and that the ferry would be permitted to run again. At that point, you can be sure to see more trouble from the moonbats, who only respect the courts when they rule in their favor. Rarely, do they ever go quietly.
With that, I wish the Superferry Best Wishes and a speedy return to service. (Because I want to go visit and I would much rather go by ferry between the islands than fly.)
Oh yes, if your like me thinking 'Hey I would love to work for them', their jobs page is here.
Update: 31 Aug 07
From the blog Mixed Plate Special, comes this photo from the ferry which clearly illustrates the hypocrisy of the protesters, who somehow managed to ignore the massive cruise ship in the background.
Superferry Protesters: Hypocrites All - Hawaii Reporter
Surfers temporarily drive Superferry from Nawiliwili Harbor - Planet Kaua'i
What the heck, more pictures of the Superferry demonstration at Nawiliwili - I got a million of 'em - Planet Kaua'i
Photos of the vessel - on FLICKR