Friday, August 31

Econuts and Moonbats Stop Hawaii Superferry (For Now)

For those who are not familiar with the US State of Hawaii, it is one of only two US States that are not connected to any other states. The other State is Alaska, which adjoins Canada.

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.

Currently, the only route available to people has been inter-island airplane flights. Not exactly the best option if you need to move a car full of stuff or farm produce or commercial products. Nor can all this air travel be very good for the 'environment'. Since you can't move cargo by air cheaply, and you can't do it by truck for obvious reasons, there is healthy maritime cargo industry dedicated to keeping the islands supplied with most everything they need, which is just about everything. However, until now, passenger traffic has been pretty much limited to cruise ships for the tourist market. The main problem getting in the way of efficient ferry traffic has been the rough seas around the islands. After all, they are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So in comes Hawaii Superferry with a special design to minimize vessel movement as a result of rough seas.

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.

So what is all this about? To tell you the truth I am not so sure. On the surface, the protesters are mad that the new ferry service did not undergo a full environmental assessment. It was not that it was ignored; initially the company was told that it did not need to do one, and was approved to operate.

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).

(Photo at Honolulu Advertiser #10 in Series)

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.

Go read their post "Report from the ferry: Stand-off at Nawiliwili Harbor" for the rundown.

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


Anonymous said...

The harsh acts of just a few are unfortunate yet ought to be no reason to start name calling and blanketing every one out there with your harsh judgements. 99% of those on site were peaceful, non-violent and of sound mind and body.

Are you being paid to spin this? It is obvious to this observer that you are ill-informed of the reality as is Hawaii Reporter editor and many of those guest editorials.

E ola pono.

Anonymous said...

From: "Rep. Hermina Morita"
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 15:58:38 -1000
Subject: Rep. Hermina Morita requests DOT to stop Superferry service to Kauai

The House of Representatives

Rep. Hermina Morita requests DOT to stop Superferry service
to Kauai "Federal, state and county police or military
resources and power should not be used to enforce bad
political decisions."

HONOLULU. State representative Hermina Morita (District 14 ˆ
Kauai) today sent a letter to Barry Fukunaga, Director of the
State Department of Transportation (DOT), to order the Hawaii
Superferry to halt service to Kauai pursuant to last week's
Supreme Court decision.

"The use of the State's harbor facilities, including
Nawiliwili Harbor, is not appropriate at this time," wrote
Rep. Morita. "Moreover, until all legal matters are resolved
or there is further guidance from the Hawaii Supreme Court,
the DOT needs to respect the rule of the law."

Morita is critical of the DOT and claims it disregarded the
law when it approved the Superferry's operations without
requiring an environmental review. She highlighted the fact
that the environmental review was requested by the Hawaii,
Maui and Kauai County Councils, and that the department's
avoidance of the process "was done for political expediency
not respect for the law and brings us to this juncture."

Morita goes on to state that a full environmental review and
full disclosure of the Superferry's operations should have
been done at the conception of the business. She emphasized
that, "Federal, state and county police or military resources
and power should not be used to enforce bad political

Copies of the letter were sent to Governor Linda Lingle,
Mayor Bryan Baptiste, the Kauai County Council and the U.S.
Coast Guard.


My position on Superferry

by Rep. Hermina Morita

I have no regrets about the statements
I have made publicly in supporting the Kaua'i community in
protesting the arrival of the Hawaii Superferry on Monday at
Nawiliwili Harbor. I was not present at the protest on
Sunday and I do not condone the actions of a few individuals
who directed their frustrations and anger at arriving or
departing passengers that evening. One of the reasons I
attended the protest on Monday was to observe the crowd and
to assist in whatever way I could to ensure that those
isolated events on Sunday did not occur again.

It is sad that the actions of these few individuals have
become the "face" of the majority of the protesters who were
peaceful. And, it is unfortunate that the media chooses to
exaggerate the confrontation by the repeated showings of this
small part of the total protest instead of focusing on HSF
and the State Department of Transportation's blatant
disregard for the law especially in light of the Hawai'i
Supreme Court decision requiring an environmental review.

In my role as a state legislator and chair of the House
Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, my position
on the HSF has always been consistent with the fact that the
law is clear that an environmental review is required. This
position is reflected in House Standing Committee Report 266,
and House Bill No. 702, House Draft 1, filed on Feb. 6, 2007.

The purpose of an environmental review is the preparation of
a disclosure document containing information of the
environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts, both
positive and negative, of a new business like the Hawaii
Superferry which will use both public lands and public funds
for its exclusive use. This kind of disclosure document
offers a structured review, with strict rules and timetables
for both opponents and proponents, which should lead to
better decision-making tools to lessen negative impacts.
Also, it is very important to note that an environmental
review was requested by the Hawai'i, Maui and Kaua'i county
councils through passage of resolutions in each county. This
is the type of scrutiny that the state Department of
Transportation and HSF sought to avoid by disregarding the

The state Department of Transportation has not articulated a
clear and concise reason of why the HSF's operations should
be exempt from the law and this has been confirmed by a
Hawai'i Supreme Court decision. It is unfortunate that the
DOT's avoidance of full disclosure and public scrutiny of the
HSF operations pursuant to Chapter 343, Hawai'i Revised
Statutes was done solely for political expediency. And, it is
so ironic that county and federal police actions of the
Kaua'i Police Department and U.S. Coast Guard have been
directed against its citizenry who have been trying to uphold
the law in dealing with this state issue.

The problem of the Hawaii Superferry operations cannot and
should not be fixed by politics or money thrown at public
relations and $5 promotions. It can only be solved by
following the law which requires a full environmental review
process and full disclosure of its operations which should
have been done at the conception of this business.

Fred Fry said...

"The harsh acts of just a few are unfortunate yet ought to be no reason to start name calling and blanketing every one out there with your harsh judgements. 99% of those on site were peaceful, non-violent and of sound mind and body."

- Sorry, but the 99% cheered on the 1% in effect shielding them and encouraging them to act the way they did. And it was more than 1%. From the photos it looked more like 5-10%

- Every one of those surfers interfered with the movement of a vessel endangering the lives of those aboard as well as themselves, and even risked an environmental incident had the vessel run aground. That is unfair to those who operate the vessels and to the members of law enforcement that is forced to deal with them. Their interference disregards the rights of all others and is a crime.

Are you being paid to spin this?

- I wish! (And No, I am not spinning this.)

I had originally left out some details of the protests that claim those on the island in question were really protesting about making the island more accessible, in effect crashing their private party. Sounds selfish to me. I left it out because there is no proof if this but feel free to comment on this issue as well.

Anonymous said...

My family has been to Maui sixty times in the last 20 years for vacations. The traffic in Maui is now brutal. Often there is no way to get from Lahaina to Kihei as the road is closed due to an accident, brush fire, flood etc.

When one links Maui to Oahu which has a huge relative population the traffic situation will be constant gridlock on Maui. This is in addition to the homeless and criminals that will have easy access to an area of the State that does not have the resources that Honolulu does to handle such social ills.

Had Maui put in the bypass highway that it has been planning for 20 years the impact on traffic would be greatly mitigated.

For someone that really knows Maui as a tourist destination I am adamant that the Superferry is a horrible proposition for all the Hawaiian Islands except Oahu.

But as long as people like yourself who look foreward to going there someday think it is a good idea maybe they should go ahead and see what happens.