Wednesday, September 5

Coast Guard Threatens Hawaii Superferry Protesters with Serious Fines and Jailtime

In my previous post "Econuts and Moonbats Stop Hawaii Superferry (For Now)", I gave the Coast Guard a hard time for their handling of the Hawaii Superferry protesters. I was not alone in this criticism. Of course, the Coast Guard got caught off-guard by assuming that the protesters would act in a civilized manner, which a small, but damaging minority, did not, preventing the vessel from docking.

Well they seem to have regrouped, and expecting that the protesters will ignore any court decision that permits the ferry to sail, have issued a warning of the severe penalties that protesters who break the law will face:


HONOLULU - The Coast Guard here, in support of joint federal, state and county plans, is planning for the next voyage of the Hawaii Superferry to Kauai, on a still undetermined date, by assembling Coast Guard assets to enforce security zones in Nawiliwili Harbor.

Along with plans for the security zones, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, working with other federal, state and local officials, is planning to designate a safe demonstration area during the Superferry's next Kauai voyage. This demonstration area, roughly between Kalapaki Beach and Kukii Point, will allow people who choose to demonstrate to do so safely, peacefully and legally, and will allow the Superferry and its passengers to safely use the port.

The fixed security zones will be established in Nawiliwili Harbor before and during the Superferry's arrival. Details on the security zones and the safe demonstration area will be distributed after the Superferry's next voyage to Kauai is announced.

Protestors who fail to comply with orders pertaining to the security zones, purposely injure or threaten to injure an enforcement officer or attempt to destruct or interfere with vessels may be punished by imprisonment for up to 10 years, and may be fined up to $25,000. Any vessel used to violate a security zone, including surfboards, kayaks and canoes, may be immediately confiscated and forfeited.

"The Coast Guard, local, state and other federal authorities share a common goal of ensuring the safety and security of our ports, the vessels that call, and all the people who use them," said Captain Vince Atkins, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and Captain of the Port.

"We support the rights of citizens to conduct safe, peaceful and legal protests, and the Coast Guard is working with our partners throughout Hawaii to address security issues related to the Superferry's next voyage here," Atkins said.

Editor's Note: For Coast Guard information regarding safety and security plans for the next Hawaii Superferry voyage to Kauai, contact the project's public information office at 808-842-2029 or 808-842-2070. - US Coast Guard Press Release

Protesters have the right to protest. However, those traveling on the superferry also have rights which the protesters have seen fit to ignore. They got a free-pass last time but it seems that further violations will come at a cost to the protester, at least those who attempt to interfere with the movement of the ship.

Protest all you want. Just stay out of the way.

Update: 5 Sept
Here are some more details about why the Coast Guard did not act to clear the harbor the first time:

Why USCG's Nawiliwili protection failed - KAUAI 05 September – New details have emerged on why the US Coast Guard was unable to protect Hawaii Superferry's Alakai in Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor last week.

According to information published in the Federal Register, the USCG faced limitations in its ability to enforce the security zone law during protests on 26-27 August. Because the entrance to the Nawiliwili Harbour is "difficult for large vessels in all but calm weather", the master chose not to enter the protestor-filled harbour; as a result, the protesters were not within the 91-metre radius of the ship's moving security zone. "This did not provide the USCG with the authority to clear the channel", which "substantially complicated an already difficult transit and created substantial risk of damage and injury", said the USCG in the Federal Register filing.

It was also noted that protesters threw rocks and bottles at USCG personnel from a jetty south of Nawiliwili Park.

To remedy the issue, a new stationary security zone will be in effect from 1 September-31 October that covers the waters of Nawiliwili Harbour as well as the jetty. This will provide the USCG increased authority to enforce security zone laws and better prevent protesters from impeding the ferry transit. Hawaii Superferry has yet to announce when it will resume calls to Kauai. - Fairplay Daily News (home Page)

That is a pretty interesting catch 22. The Coast Guard could not forcibly remove the protesters as the ship did not enter the harbor. The ship did not enter the harbor because the protesters were blocking the way. Hopefully the new rules will make everyone happy.

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