POSTED: 23 JUNE 2006 - 2:45am HST

Reaction to proposed SuperFerry

Will this be the first vehicle off the SuperFerry?

By Faith Harding on 23 June 2006

The following is a letter to State Senator Gary Hooser on the SuperFerry


Aloha Senator Hooser,

My name is Faith Harding and we met at Storybook Theatre last year and more recently at the Lihue Business Association meeting. I also phoned you after the meeting to get some clarification on my notes and you were very gracious to help me to decipher my information.

I am writing to you today about the SuperFerry and the information that I have just gathered from I am curious as to why the information about the Stryker Force brigade being transported was completely eliminated from the Lihue Business Association meeting on June 6th here on Kauai.

I am appalled that "...HSF has cut a deal with the military to move troops, including the entire Stryker Brigade, between O`ahu and the Big Island for training exercises."
JM Buck 4/11/06 Maui Examiner, that is to be a daily and regular shuttle! The Stryker is supposed to be transported by C130 military aircraft. The article then goes on to state that the Stryker Brigade will be using DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) for LIVE-FIRE MANEUVERS?! There is NO REASON for the military to be using a civilian transport when they have their own aircraft to handle the Stryker that especially Kauai was vehemently opposed. Does the Big Island know this is about to take place on their island? Where are the meetings to address this? DU rounds have been found in major clean-up on O`ahu per the Honolulu Advertiser, 1/6/06. Forget about LCL for Young Bros. or not enough harbor/pier space, this is the main issue right here.

Then there is the fact that Lehman bypassed the EIS because according to Dennis Niles in this article..."segmenting their state funding, a move that enabled them to qualify for an EIS exemption." JM Buck, 4/11/06 Maui Examiner, and that if the $40M had been applied for in one shot, they couldn't have gotten the EIS exemption. Senator, who let this happen and why? Then the kicker is if the "...$40M is expected to be repaid through Hawai`i taxes SHOULD HSF NOT GENERATE ENOUGH REVENUE TO PAY BACK THE STATE" JM Buck, 4/11/06 Maui Examiner. No EIS is going to gravely affect everything about Hawaii. We don't even know if this ferry can pay for itself much less the impact it will have on marine life. According to the information on and Maui News, whales alone will be threatened. According to Buck's article, Greg Kaufman, President of Pacific Whale Foundation, is quoted as saying "Hawai`i has never seen anything like these ships...they're the size of football fields." and "Here's the fact. Four of the five reported whale strikes were under 15 knots." This ferry will travel up to 35 knots!

I then read The Mau`i News' article dated June 18 by Valerie Monson that "...Lehman, the former secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan is the Superferry's biggest private investor, sinking $71M into the project. (The Maritime Administration has also provided a $139.7 M Title XI FEDERAL LOAN guarantee)." The fact that five of the eight directors are tied to Lehman is another reason to question this entire operation.

I was teetering on what my position was on the SuperFerry but after reading this on Juan Wilson's website my stance is very clear. First of all, knowing that this ferry will be transporting military ops and exposing folks to DU is horrific. Secondly, the fact that hardworking tax paying folks, like myself, with have to foot the bill if Lehman and his minions don't pay up is shocking. Thirdly, that the marine environment that makes up the beauty of this archipelago isn't even being considered is shameful. I will be at the Tues. June 27th meeting at Wilcox School, along with as many people on Kauai that we can gather, raising these questions/concerns and vocally, vehemently OPPOSING the arrival of the SuperFerry on Kaua`i.

Aloha and Mahalo,

Faith Harding
Administrative Assistant
Flooring Innovations
4252 Rice St.
Lihue, HI 96766
808-246-4826 fax


Lihue Bussiness Association Meeting Notes
by Faith Harding’s on 7 June 2006

Barry Fukunaga – DOT
This is considered alternative means of transportation not to displace the airlines.
Super Ferry in Kauai 7/07
350 ft. in length and will dock at Pier #1
Daily Service – 3 hr. trip one way
Arrival – in the afternoon
Departure – in the evening, to Honolulu around 10:30pm
866 people @ full capacity
282 vehicles @ full capacity

Approx. daily average:
410 – people
110 - vehicles

Low fares per person, per vehicle, per other items like surfboards
Pre-booking on the internet, scheduled passengers and walk-ons
Ag inspectors, traffic studies, porters, taxis etc. have yet to be worked out.
The State Hwy. Division has approved 75% of the operational plans and 95% of the plans for the barges & ramps that will be implemented at Pier 1.
There will be major renovation at Nawiliwili. Pier 3 will be segmented for an extension for mid-sized vessels. The harbor entrance will be widened.

Cruise Ships:
NCL-daily vessels at capacity for HI
We are going to have cruise ship 6 days a week NCL will be overnighters, which already are.

Sen. Gary Hooser - HI State Senator
From a legislative standpoint, it’s based on election cycles. There could be changes every 2-4 years depending on the election scenario. 2025 Master Plan for Nawiliwili Harbor was circulating around but the Senator stressed that it really has to do with who is Head of DOT and the Governor at the time changes are implemented.

Sen. Hooser said he had SERIOUS RESERVATIONS about the Super Ferry. That it is Honolulu that is driving it and it is unfortunately inevitable.

An environmental impact study was voted on by the Senator’s committee and it passed. However, it then went on to another committee for a vote and voted down. Therefore it is NO LONGER REQUIRED! (I pointed out to the Senator, with YB, NCL, Super Ferry, the impact to marine life is going to be hazardous when I phoned him for clarification)

The Senator stressed that it is up to the LOCAL BUSINESSES to set the PRIORITIES in Honolulu. 40M of state funding is going to the BARGE that will bring the Super Ferry into Nawiliwili. 40 MILLION OF OUR TAXES!

He questions the liability of the Super Ferry as it presents more problems for the outer islands than it’s probably worth. He mentioned the fact that it will be 10:30 PM before the Super Ferry from Kauai will dock. There are NO EASY ANSWERS.

Glen Hong, President of Young Brothers (YB)
In 2000: YB was up 65% in cargo and 36% in barge turns, 926 barges out of Honolulu. He was mentioning that back then they were well over capacity.
Kauai Services – Wendall Kam was present but didn’t speak
I took notes so quickly but I THINK Glenn was saying that there are 4 barges (?) that come in to Nawiliwili on Tues. and Fri
In 2006: 186M over next 10yrs. is needed for new construction, barges and tugs will be spent.

YB is 3M above budget for fuel.
Less than Container Load, they have filed with the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) to discontinue this type of freight go to freight forwarders to consolidate. There is no more room at Maui harbor when the Super Ferry arrives. YB is losing lots of space! There is a meeting about the LCL/PUC issue on Fri.7/7 5pm @ Lihue Neighborhood Center. This could/will affect our shipping out of Honolulu. It could also mean that eventually what is happening on Maui could happen on Kauai at some point.

There is a handout with questions on it that some questions were answered but I feel that the ones pertinent to Kauai weren’t really addressed other than the renovations/Super Ferry logistics. I am planning on attending the meeting at Wilcox school on the 27th. I spoke with the Senator and Pat Griffin after the meeting about the concerns I had.

The Lihue Business Association is an ad hoc group and I think it’s imperative that we keep what is happening on the island and how it will affect Lihue going. Their next meeting will address issue at the airport and the upcoming elections. I believe that will be the August meeting.

June 26, Monday, 7:00pm
Kapaa, Kapaa Middle School Cafeteria

June 27, Tuesday, 10:00am
Eleele, Eleele Elementary School Cafeteria

June 27, Tuesday, 7:00pm
Lihue, Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria



POSTEDL 20 JUNE 2006 - 2:00am HST

The SuperFerry briefing schedule

Hawaii Superferry and Department of Transportation Public Briefings

June 21, Wednesday, 7:00pm
Lahaina, Lahaina Civic Center

June 22, Thu, 10:00am
Kihei, Old Kalama Park Pavilion

June 22, Thu, 7:00pm
Kahului, Lihikai Elementary School Cafeteria

June 26, Monday, 7:00pm
Kapaa, Kapaa Middle School Cafeteria

June 27, Tuesday, 10:00am
Eleele, Eleele Elementary School Cafeteria

June 27, Tuesday, 7:00pm
Lihue, Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria

June 29, Thu, 7:00pm
Honolulu, Puuhale Elementary School Cafeteria

July 05, Wed, 7:00pm
Kaimuki, Aliiolani Elementary School Cafeteria

July 06, Thu, 7:00pm
Kaneohe, Kaneohe Elementary School Cafeteria


Editor's Note:

Please attend these public meetings and let the State know your feelings about the ferry service.

It seems that "Briefings" are the best the public is going to get on this issue. The real discussion on the social, economic, environmental issues surrounding the operation of SuperFerry service has been buried.

One issue that has been understated by the state is the lopsided favor of the service scheduling in favor of Oahu over the outer islands. The schedule for a same day round trip is geared to begin on Ohau and return to Oahu. A round trip from an outer island will be an overnight trip, as the ferries will be moored on Oahu.

Another interesting aspect of the ferry service is the support and interest the military has for the cargo space on board. The military expects priority use of the ferry for shuttling the armored Stryker Force from island to island. Hawaiian residents will be subsidizing this.




POSTED: 19 JUNE 2006 - 8:00am HST

The SuperFerry in the hot seat

by Valerie Monson on 18 June 200 in The Maui News

Whether she likes it or not, Gov. Linda Lingle is being dragged into the controversy over Hawaii Superferry as the fallout over congestion at Kahului Harbor continues.

Maui paddlers, farmers, small-business owners and others concerned about the impact of Superferry on local cargo service and use of the harbor will hold a "Freight First" rally from 4 to 5:30pm. Wednesday at Hoaloha Park on Kaahumanu Avenue. The purpose of the demonstration is twofold: to ask Lingle to delay ferry operations until impacts are resolved and to get the U.S. Coast Guard to exempt canoe clubs from the security zone that will increase around the pier.

"And if they don't give us the exemption, then move the Superferry," said paddler Karen Chun.

The demonstration will be just one wave in a surge of activity that will take place during what might be described as "Harbor Week" on Maui. No fewer than six meetings will be held in four days beginning Monday night regarding the tight squeeze at the docks and the impact of Superferry operations coupled with the burgeoning business of interisland cargo shipper Young Brothers Ltd. and the overall lack of room at the harbor.

Superferry and the state Department of Transportation will hold three public meetings on their plans to transport as many as 866 passengers and 282 cars on a four-story vessel that's longer than a football field. Young Brothers officials will hold three meetings of their own to explain what steps they must take after being ordered to give up a fourth of their space at Pier 2 to accommodate Superferry, which is expected to launch in July of 2007.

For more than a year, Superferry has been accused of dodging the general public, although company executives disagree. As a condition on the release of a final $20 million needed for harbor improvements for Superferry around the state, the lawmakers required company and state transportation officials to hold a series of three community meetings on each island where the vessel will dock. The intent of the bill was to establish an ongoing dialogue with each island community, not to have a flurry of meetings within hours of each other and then never come back, said state Sen. Shan Tsutsui, who represents Central Maui.

"We put in specific dates that they needed to hold the meetings by so that Superferry would have a series of meetings where they would provide information, respond to questions and continue to update the community," said Tsutsui. "I'm certain DOT and Superferry understands what the language is."

Barry Fukunaga, DOT deputy director for harbors, said he did not expect these three sessions on Maui to be the only ones held. Lawmakers said that meetings must be conducted on each island affected by Superferry before the end of June, the end of September and the end of March. Fukunaga said he couldn't be definite about a September meeting, but he said there would be more in the future.

"For the initial series, we wanted to have sufficient venues instead of meeting in just one place," said Fukunaga when asked to comment after a meeting with Young Brothers and Molokai residents in Kaunakakai earlier this week. "Ultimately, there will be more progress" that will be discussed down the line, he said.

Because Superferry will sharply cut into Young Brothers' cargo space at Pier 2, the interisland shipper recently announced that it would no longer have room to handle partial loads in or out of Kahului Harbor, prompting an uproar from small-business owners and farmers on Maui and Molokai alike. To address community concerns, Young Brothers leaders have spent the past month trying to quell the storm over a situation that they didn't create.

"The burden is on us right now," said Roy Catalani, vice president of strategic planning and government affairs for Young Brothers. "We've been meeting with freight forwarders, consolidators, trade organizations, the Farm Bureau, the Maui mayor's office, Molokai farmers and retailers, and having lots of internal meetings to sketch out a plan of these complicated changes."

The company has vowed to work with the community to find solutions to the loss of delivering shipments that take up less than a full container. Young Brothers acknowledged that it was planning to discontinue the smaller loads around Hawaii in a few years, but only recently realized the timetable at Kahului would have to be speeded up to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to move out of Superferry's portion of the pier and yard.

This week, Superferry and DOT officials will face questions from members of the public. Among the issues expected to be discussed is the state's agreement that Superferry should pay a $4 wharfage fee per vehicle when Young Brothers must pay a total of $21 for the same thing. Superferry will also pay the state just $20 per commercial vehicle. Young Brothers pays as much as $300 for a tour bus. All costs are passed on to consumers.

Young Brothers said the system needs to be fair. "We want our customers to be treated as those of any other carrier," said Catalani.

Another issue likely to be raised is the makeup of the Superferry's board of directors, which is almost completely controlled by partners or consultants with the Mainland-based J.F. Lehman and Co.

Lehman, the former secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan, is Superferry's biggest private investor, sinking $71 million into the project. (The Maritime Administration has also provided a $139.7 million Title XI federal loan guarantee.)
When Superferry applied for its water carrier license to the Public Utilities Commission in November 2004, none of the three directors listed were connected to Lehman. Now, five of eight directors are tied to Lehman, who is chairman of the board. Another director is David Cole, chief executive officer of Maui Land & Pineapple Co., also a Superferry investor.
John Garibaldi, chief executive officer for Superferry, said it's not unusual for the company's investors to have a seat at the table.
"That's where a substantial amount of our equity is coming from," he said.
It's also uncertain whether the concerns of Kahului Harbor Master Steve Pfister will be addressed during discussions of the Superferry.
He told The Maui News last month that because of the lack of infrastructure and permanent facilities, he thinks Superferry could be "struggling" financially only a month or two after it starts.
Garibaldi called Pfister's comments "baseless claims" even though the harbor master, a Navy veteran who has said he wants Superferry to succeed, schedules all incoming vessels at Kahului and must make everything fit.

"I'm not sure what information Mr. Pfister has," said Garibaldi. "I don't know if he really understands our operation."

State support for the Superferry project has been questioned, but Fukunaga said the governor has not expedited the approval process for Superferry. He said the governor has long supported the concept of an interisland ferry system, but that she has not pressured him to favor Superferry.

"The governor recognizes that Superferry is a form of transportation that does not exist," he said. "We're an island state, and this will allow us not to depend so much on air travel.

"The challenge is how best to accommodate it."
At least twice in public meetings when DOT was under fire, Young Brothers came to Fukunaga's defense and said he was one of the best state administrators they had worked with in 15 years.

In April, Garibaldi told a joint legislative committee that Superferry had delivered "35 percent" of its operating plans to the state and that the entire document might not be ready until the fourth quarter of the year. He said that would leave plenty of time for review.

Fukunaga said that when Superferry was first proposed, all possible berths at Kahului Harbor were explored.

"We actually examined Pier 1, Pier 4, Pier 3 and different arrangements at Pier 2," he said. "You have to find a balance. We thought by tying it to the end of Pier 2, it would work. We don't want to impact the recreational site."

The state plans to purchase more land around the harbor and reconfigure it for Young Brothers, but that additional space won't be available for a few years.
Karen Chun said that's why Superferry should be delayed.

"They're putting the cart before the horse," she said.

One of the biggest selling points for Superferry has been the price of its fares, which are expected to be lower than the average plane tickets. Lowest one-way fares for the three-hour journey from Maui to Oahu are $42, but that's only for travel on off-peak days (Tuesday through Thursday) and if purchased in advance over the Internet. Otherwise, one-way fares jump to $50 or $60. To get into the more exclusive "club class," there's another $15 charge.

A car or sport utility vehicle starts at $55 one-way, with higher fares for peak days (Friday through Monday). A pickup or van would cost $90 or $100 one-way.

But those figures were announced two years ago when fuel prices were much lower. Superferry reportedly burns a lot of fuel per hour. (Garibaldi said he didn't know the exact amount of consumption.)

So will prices be higher when Superferry launches next year? "Fuel is an item that affects any transportation company, and it will be formulated into the cost of a ticket," said Garibaldi.

Regarding the impact on Superferry's prices, Garibaldi said he hadn't done the calculations yet. "There might be a small amount added to (publicized fares)," he said.\

Garibaldi said Superferry continues to focus on passenger travel and not cargo. Although the Web site encourages Neighbor Island farmers to ship produce and cattle via the vessel, those vehicles carrying products or livestock must be driven on and off the ferry by someone who travels with them. Garibaldi said there are no plans to allow vehicles or cargo to be loaded on one end and unloaded by someone else at the other.

"We're just operating the ferry. We don't move cargo or freight," he said. "We're just offering people an alternative vehicle. A lot of entrepreneurs are looking at this kind of business model. Does it make sense to drive your produce, drive your products from one island to another by using the ferry?"
Young Brothers' decision to eliminate the shipment of partial loads out of Kahului Harbor prompted Maui County Council Member Danny Mateo to appeal to Lingle, especially on behalf of Molokai residents.

Lingle replied that Young Brothers had informed her staff that "smaller loads would continue along with the current twice-weekly barge service that is presently provided" to and from Molokai. The governor noted that Young Brothers would have to "make some adjustments" in order to continue the service, but she did not mention that Molokai residents would have to pay for a consolidator to load or unload at Kahului Harbor, which will raise prices for everyone.

Mateo was not satisfied with Lingle's answer.

"Her response didn't tell me anything but 'That's the way it is, Danny,' " said Mateo. "It's only a partial answer. The irony of it all is that Young Brothers does not control the harbors - the state does. The state's lack of planning has failed us. We're in limbo right now."

Despite all the concerns, it seems doubtful that the state will put the brakes on Superferry. As part of an agreement signed by state officials, taxpayers would pay Superferry $18,000 a day if infrastructure isn't in place by the company's launch date.




POSTED: 13 APRIL 2006 - 6:00am HST

SuperFerry Comes Under Fire

The Spirit of Ontario, sister ship of proposed Hawaiian SuperFerry, in Honolulu on promo tour

by J.M. Buck on 11 April 2006 in the Maui Examiner

Plenty of questions but no answers for Superferry opponents. Again.

Superferry opponents hoped to get some answers during a Mar. 30 panel discussion, but representatives of Hawaii Superferry (HSF) staged a no-show for the second time in one week.

At a public forum on 23 March, the main players in the development of the controversial Superferry stated that they did not receive invitations until after the event. For the 30 March forum, HSF officials officially declined to be present.

Before a standing-room only crowd that filled the Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Science Discovery Center in Ma'alaea, six panelists addressed issues ranging from invasive species threats, dangers to humpback whales and a lack of an environmental impact statements to what appears to be Hawai'i taxpayer funding of a military operation. Panelists included Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons, Greg Kaufman, president and founder of Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF), local farmer Jeff Parker, Karen Chun, an engineer, and canoe paddler, local attorney Dennis Niles and Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) manager Teya Penniman. Penniman also sits on the newly appointed Superferry advisory board.

Kula Community Association president Dick Mayer moderated the discussion.
Penniman and fellow board member Mahina Martin voiced their disappointment that no Superferry officials were present, with Penniman saying they should have been there to "at least listen and learn." Parsons echoed their sentiment. He referenced an e-mail from Superferry officials saying HSF supports public forums. "Remember that," said Parsons, drawing chuckles from the crowd.

HSF has ordered two 353-foot long ships long from Australia-based Austal Shipbuilders to the tune of $75 million each. The company anticipates kicking off daily passenger and vehicle ferry service with one ship, which is currently under construction at the Austal, U.S. shipyard in Alabama, in spring of 2007. Service will be between Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, and between Honolulu and Nawiliwili, Kauai. The second ship is expected to be in operation by 2009 with daily service between Oahu and Kawaihae on the Big Island.

HSF's proposed route between the Islands is a sore spot for Kaufman.
The high-speed ferry will travel up to 35 knots, or about 45 mph, on a route that cuts through the middle of the most whale-dense areas in the state. Kaufman says that at these speeds, the knife-like hulls of the huge catamarans coupled with the inability to stop or maneuver in time to avoid striking whales make for a lethal combination.

"Hawai'i has never seen anything like these ships," said Kaufman. "They're the size of football fields."

One of PWF's own vessels recently struck a whale at slow speed. Being whales usually spend their time just below the water's surface, it can be difficult to avoid a collision, even with a small vessel. Chun related a story where a fellow canoe paddler actually struck a whale with his paddle.

"Here's the fact. Four of the five reported whale strikes were under 15 knots," said Kaufman.

Other concerns at the top of the list were the lack of any traffic analyses and environmental assessments or impact statements.

Once HSF is operational, the 866-person capacity ship will be making 16 trips per week between O'ahu and Maui. Vehicular cargo capacity is a maximum of 282 cars. Though unlikely, if the Superferry were to arrive in Kahului with the maximum amount of vehicles and passengers on all trips every day, that would equal an additional 1,732 visitors and 564 vehicles per day.

interior "coach" seating aboard Spirit of Ontario looks like airline cabin with bigger windows

"There was a very strong recommendation not to mix passenger operations with cargo operations," said Parsons. "Our cargomaster told us that there was a 35-percent increase in dock space from fiscal year '04 to '05, and he said we can't take another increase like that. Yet we know that we have a third cruise ship coming in next year, so we're going to have six days of cruise ship import instead of four."

Making matters worse is that the Superferry is scheduled to use Pier 2, the same space where Young Brothers currently operates. Parsons predicts this plan will create nothing short of a cargo and traffic logjam.

"It's as full as it can be already," he said emphatically.

A draft environmental assessment (EA) was issued in summer of 2004. In 2002, the Department of Public Works had requested that a master drainage and traffic plan be submitted by HSF in a pre-draft consultation. Parsons says these plans did not appear in the 2004 draft EA.

In a letter to HSF, Mayor Alan Arakawa called for a full EIS, as well as a full traffic analysis report, being that part of the harbor improvements necessary to accommodate the Superferry include the reconstruction of part of Pu'unene Avenue to bring it up to county standards. There is also speculation that some historic county-owned buildings may need to be razed to make way for the harbor improvements.

"I just did a review of a 12-lot subdivision in Kihei that had a full traffic impact analysis report," said Parsons. "Yet the harbor improvements, which include this inter-island system, had no traffic impact reports."

Parsons relayed that the draft EA was also inadequate in the addressing of alien species, Miconia and coqui frogs being the main focus of a potential invasive species threat.

Penniman has been asked by Hawai'i Superferry to identify threats of invasive species. She says the threat isn't from people but vehicles, which can carry speck-size miconia seeds and coqui frog eggs on their tires and undercarriages.
HSF officials met with MISC last year. MISC suggested cleaning the underside of the vehicles before they are brought onto the Superferry.

Penniman admitted she doesn't know how the cleaning of vehicles will be addressed at the Maui facility, or what standards will be applied.

Parker, who owns an orchid farm, pointed out that there are damaging insect species on other islands that are not on Maui, and vice-versa.

"If we're not going to have any agricultural inspections and we're just going to allow this traffic - up to 500 cars a day coming in with no agricultural inspections at all - we're immediately going to get these pests transferred to every island," said Parker. "The best way to do this is with a full-blown environmental impact statement."

Penniman is encouraging the public to "help them figure it out," and asks that anyone with suggestions e-mail her at misc@

"At present it's hard for me to comprehend how vehicle inspection could occur," she finalized.

Parker listed a host of politicians, businesses and organizations that have requested an EIS, but it still has not been done, with HSF saying that they do not need it.

Niles explained that HSF got around the need for an EIS by segmenting their state funding, a move that enabled them to qualify for an EIS exemption.
"Had the $40 million been applied for in one shot, they couldn't have gotten the [EIS] exemption," explained Niles.

Currently, HSF has raised over a $100 million from private investors. Superferry board member John F. Lehman has invested $70 million in the project through his private equity firm, J.F. Lehman and Co. HSF acquired a state appropriation of $20 million, and is currently seeking another $20 mil from the state legislature.

The $40 million is expected to be repaid through Hawai'i taxes should HSF not generate enough revenue to pay back the state. This is an inflammatory touch-point, as HSF is a private enterprise. And HSF has also cut a deal with the military to move troops, including the entire Stryker Brigade, between O'ahu and the Big Island for training exercises. The Superferry's sister ship, the Westpac Express, has been on a long-term lease by the U.S. military since 2001 to shuttle Marines between Okinawa and mainland Japan.

interior hold may carry frequently Stryker Brigade military cargo

Lehman plans a similar use for HSF, with Stryker Brigade use on a regular basis and daily shuttling of military equipment.

"Why are Hawaii taxpayers paying for a military operation?" Parsons asked. "Stryker brigade is supposed to be transported by C130 aircraft."
Penniman says she is uncertain what HSF's plans are for military use.

During public statements after the panel discussion, Maui Tomorrow board member Sean Lester pointed out that Stryker Brigade vehicles use Depleted Uranium (DU) for live-fire maneuvers. Several horrified gasps scattered across the room. Lester, a nuclear engineer and former Navy submariner, questioned the military's credibility regarding the use of DU by the Striker Brigade once they begin training maneuvers at Pohakuloa on the Big Island.

"These Stryker vehicles have 105mm cannons in which the main armament is Depleted Uranium sub-caliber projectiles," said Lester during a phone interview. "They say that they would never allow [DU] in live-fire exercises, but in a major clean-up O'ahu, DU rounds were found there (Honolulu Advertiser, Jan. 6, 2006). They've been saying all along they've never used DU rounds anywhere in Hawai'i. They're going over for live-fire training on the Big Island and this is a long-term military contract."

More information on the military's use of DU on O'ahu can be found at

"We've already been lied to once," finalized Lester during the public testimony. "We're being asked to bring the potential of Depleted Uranium live fire to our island."

see also
IslandBreath: Superferry Problems