POSTED: 13 August 2006 - 7:30pm HST

Superferry Video Critique Now on Google

click on the logo of the Hawaii Superferry InterIsland H-4 to see video

Editor's Note:

Our position is a passenger ferry operating at reasonablee speed without vehicles is welcome to come to Kauai.

In our mind biggest problem with the proposed ferry is not moving people by boat between the islands, it is moving gas guzzling vehicles from Oahu to Kauai (ncluding the Stryker Brigade).

We don't want any ferried ATV's, Off Road Bikes or 4WD SUV's cutting through our dunes, slicing across our beaches or chopping the hell out of our high country as part of the fulfillment of a TV ad fantasy of what life is all about in Hawaii. Keep it on Oahu!

by Nola Conn 13 August 2006

We have until January to stop this disaster. Many, many whales will suffer or die if we allow the Superferry. Two guys, Terry White and Terry O'Halloran, serve both the SuperFerry company as well as the newly "protected" National Marine Sanctuary in the Hawaiian Islands. As the narrator of film asks, "who will speak for the whales?"

Superferry video now on google...



POSTED: 3 Augut 2006 - 10:20pm HST

Upon reading about the risk of collisions with whales posed by all vessels, it would appear that a speed limit in Hawaiian ocean waters would go a long way in protecting endangered humpback whales, Hawaiian monk seals, and sea turtles. Hawaii could follow in the footsteps of Alaska where they've imposed speed limits of 10 to13 knots on vessels (depending on their size) in Glacier Bay to protect humpack whales. They also have a 200 yard approach rule for humpback whales. These rules could help prevent strikes from whale tour boats which, as we know, are increasing at an alarming rate. A 13-knot limit wouldn't affect Young Brothers as their top speed is 10 knots. Mattson traveling at 18-22 knots and ocean liners, with their usual cruise rate of 20-22 knots would need to slow down in areas where these endangered species are found. With a speed limit of 13 knots, the Superferry, with its touted top speeds of 40-45 knots, would be most affected and the speed restriction could make its operation economically unfeasible since it would take passengers at least twice as long to travel between islands than has been proposed by HSF.

A speed limit would serve two purposes:

1. Protect endangered humpbacks, monk seals, and sea turtles from all vessels

2. Prevent the Superferry from being a viable means of transportation

From NOAA report: Large Whale Ship Strikes Relative to Vessel Speed
Page 4 & 5) Collisions between ships and whales are associated with a wide variety of vessel types. From our database, 134 (46%) of 292 cases of ship strike include vessel type in the report, while in 158 (54%) cases the type of ship was unknown. Of the 134 known cases of vessel type, there are 23 reported incidents (17.1%) of Navy vessels hitting whales, 20 reports (14.9%) of ship strike for container/cargo ships/freighters, 19 (14.2%) reports involving whale-watching vessels, and 17 reports (12.7%) for cruise ships and liners. Sixteen (11.9%) reports are attributed to ferries, and nine cases (6.7%) are reported for Coast Guard vessels. Eight (6.0%) cases are reported for tankers, while recreational vessels and steamships account for seven collisions each (5.2%). Fishing vessels were responsible for four collisions in the database (3.0%), and one collision (0.75%) was reported from each of the following: dredge, research vessel, pilot boat and whaling catcher boat. It should be noted that the high incidence of Navy and Coast Guard collision reports may be largely a factor of standardized military and government reporting practice rather than an actual higher frequency of collisions relative to other ship types. Although these data give valuable information regarding the wide range of vessels involved in collisions, care should be taken in extrapolating from these numbers. As noted earlier, many large ships, such as containers, tankers, and cruise ships, may not be aware that a collision with a whale has occurred and thus do not report the incident. It is also likely that ships of all sizes under no authority to report, in fact, do not, out of apathy or fear of enforcement consequences.

Page 8
Recently developed ‘FastShips’ can sail twice as fast as traditional freighters due to innovative hull design and high-powered propulsion system (Giles 1997). As a result, cargo between the U.S. and Europe may cross the Atlantic in days rather than weeks. Another concept currently under development is a hybrid catamaran and surface effect ship (SES), which, if successful, will lead to larger fast ferries and other high-speed vessels. This design, subject to extensive sea trials after receiving a 1996 patent, boasts high speed at low power, a low resistance hull, low wash and smooth travel (Anon. 1998). In the San Francisco Bay, the number of fast ferry traffic and vessel speed are both on the rise, with estimates of daily fast ferry trips increasing from 100+ trips at present to 665 trips daily in the next 10 years (Walther and Aspland 2001). High speed ferries (e.g., the “Cat”) now make routine trips in areas and during periods when right whales aggregate in Northeast U.S. and Canadian waters. On the U.S. east coast, Blount-Barker Shipbuilding has begun development of a new high-speed catamaran to operate out of Bar Harbor, Maine (pers comm.). The vessel will conduct both seasonal whale-watch tours and high-speed commuter service at loaded operating speed of 40 knots.

Thus, as the capability to design and build fast ships rises to meet the demand for increased commerce and tourism, increased vigilance is necessary to safeguard marine wildlife, especially right whales, which are vulnerable ship strikes and in particular high speed craft.

Page 9
Attempts to reduce impacts from vessels, such as speed restrictions, have been used to protect marine species. Currently, speed regulations exist for two endangered marine mammal species in U.S. waters: manatees and humpback whales. Vessel collision is the principle threat to the recovery of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), which congregates in coastal waters along the east coast of Florida and Georgia. Most deaths are caused by vessel impact, followed by propeller cuts, while many living manatees bear scars or wounds from vessel strikes. Over the last 25 years, a clear increase in mortality has been noted in the manatee population in the southeastern U.S., largely attributable to watercraft collisions (USFWS 2001). Between 1976 and 2000, deaths caused by watercraft collisions increased by 7.2% per year; as a result, boat speed regulations have been implemented in areas with high manatee concentrations along the east coast of Florida. The Florida Manatee Recovery Plan (2001) states, “Because watercraft operators cannot reliably detect and avoid hitting manatees, federal and state managers have sought to limit watercraft speed in areas where manatees are most likely to occur to afford both manatees and boaters time to avoid collisions.” In 1989, in an effort to improve manatee protection in 13 counties, the governor and Cabinet of Florida approved conservation recommendations from the Florida Department of Natural Resources. Currently, state and local governments have plans to cooperate in building and implementing four county Manatee Protection Plans and 12 county-wide manatee protection speed zones rules (USFWS 2001).

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has the responsibility to develop and maintain state waterway speed and access regulations to protect manatees under the State of Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. These rules aim to protect manatees by taking into account manatee habitat use patterns and the needs of watercraft users. Under the authority of the ESA and MMPA at 50 CFR 17, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may restrict vessel speed and access in conjunction with efforts to designate manatee protection areas (USFWS 2001). For example, in Brevard Country, historically one of the Florida counties highest in boat-related manatee deaths, slow speed zones and manatee sanctuaries have been adopted in an effort to reduce injury and mortality. Boater compliance with speed regulations has been examined through water-based surveys and aerial surveys with respect to boat type, activity, time and location (Morris et al. 1995).
In Alaska, a vessel speed limit is enforced in Glacier Bay National Park for protection of the endangered North Pacific humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Humpback whales feed in several areas throughout southeast Alaska during summer, but the waters of Glacier Bay are the only area in which a speed limit in enforced. Vessel operating restrictions are intended to minimize disturbance to the whales and lower the risk of vessel/whale collisions. In the past, a 20 knot speed limit was mandatory in the lower Bay from May 15 to August 31, and could be dropped to a 10 knot speed restriction by the park superintendent during times of high whale densities throughout summer months (Glacier Bay Boating Regulations 2002).

More recently, the Park Service analyzed its vessel operating requirements through a 2003 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Park Service EIS Record of Decision (ROD) revised previous vessel requirements to mandate that a 13 knot speed limit for vessels greater than or equal to 262 ft (80 m) be in effect as needed in Glacier Bay on a year-round basis. The ROD states “The Superintendent may impose a 13-knot speed limit, as necessary, for motor vessels greater than or equal to 262 feet (80 meters) in length throughout Glacier Bay due to the presence of humpback whales. Park Service staff will monitor whale abundance, movements, and distribution, and provide this information to the park superintendent, who will then determine whether to set a 13-knot speed limit for vessels of this length or greater.” (Glacier Bay Vessel Quotas and Operating Requirements EIS 2004). In the appendix of supporting materials, the EIS includes a Biological Opinion prepared by NOAA Fisheries that cites Laist et al. 2001 as a basis for this speed restriction: “Generally, there is a direct relationship between the occurrence of a whale strike and the speed of the vessel involved in the collision. Most mortalities that have been documented occur when a vessel is traveling in excess of 13 knots (Laist et al. 2001).” (NMFS 2003)

In 2000, NOAA Fisheries in Alaska proposed a regional 200 yard approach rule for humpback whales. The number of responsive comments on the proposed rule was extremely high, with many commenters emphasizing, in particular, the need for vessel speed limits in areas where whales are predictably found. They recommended that NOAA implement speed limits through guidelines or regulations. Likewise, the recommendations from a recent study of humpback whale behavior and vessel activity in SE Alaska also urged NOAA Fisheries to consider speed limits in areas of high whale concentration. This study recommended that the Glacier Bay National Park restriction of 10 knots in “whale waters” be replicated in other seasonal humpback whale “hotspots” throughout Alaska to reduce the risk of vessel strike or harassment (Peterson, MS Thesis 2001).

Internationally, vessel speed limits have also been recommended for the protection of marine species. In Australia in 1999, the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Council, committed to not only halting the decline in dugong numbers but actually restoring populations by endorsement of the recommendations of a dugong conservation review that included implementing boater speed limits (Anon. 1999). Page 14) Speed is one of the few factors in vessel transit that can be controlled. Moreover, it is the only measure, in some instances, that is available to reduce the risk. Thus, it is necessary to consider it as a management measure to reduce right whale ship strikes.

NOAA Fisheries is considering the issue of enforcement while formulating a strategy to address right whale ship strikes. Many question the enforceability of vessel speed restrictions, and thus, the effectiveness of such a management measure. This is indeed a valid concern and clearly a challenge for the agency. Depending upon where possible speed restrictions are implemented, means to support these regulations may involve using USCG or NOAA Office of Law Enforcement vessels to monitor harbor approaches, critical habitat and other select areas with high right whale concentrations. Additionally, vessel speed limit enforcement could be achieved using aircraft, GPS, and via the USCG Port State Control inspection dockside. Vessel logs and MSR reports can be reviewed dockside. The Automated Identification System (AIS) (Title 33 CFR 164.46) will be in effect by the end of 2004 and another possible enforcement tool.
In Florida, an effort to reduce manatee injury and death and increase boater compliance within speed zones, both federal and state agencies have used targeted enforcement practices. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategy has been to allocate enforcement personnel to specific areas with significant histories of manatee deaths due to vessel collision. Emphasizing these sites, enforcement teams travel around the state of Florida. Likewise, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has increased its emphasis on enforcement of manatee speed zones by adding additional officers, increasing overtime and increasing the proportion of law enforcement time directed toward manatee conservation efforts (USFWS 2001).
Furthermore, improved data collection and processing associated with high resolution spatial technologies will soon make it possible to determine ship speed by satellite. With further development of remote sensing technology, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) will be able to determine ship speed from the images of ships’ wakes. In addition, SAR will be able to remotely calculate hull characteristics such as length and volume, hypothetically presenting a method to “enforce” vessel speed and determine identity (Griffin et al. 1996). These types of strategies, or similar strategies, will be explored for right whales.

The number of options available to effectively reduce ship strikes are few. As noted earlier, ideal measures would minimize the overlap of whales and ships. In many instances, this is impractical or impossible for both economic and biological reasons. That is, marine safety, detection capabilities, and economic factors may prohibit routing ships away from areas of whale occurrence. Thus, the manager and decision-maker must resort to the limited options available. Reducing speed is among the few viable options.
page 15) Although there are uncertainties, it is possible to assume certain things. Slowing ships may give more time for a whale to detect and possibly avoid the low-frequency sounds of an approaching vessel. As discussed, ships operating at reduced speed may be less likely to impose strong hydrodynamic forces on whales which otherwise might pull whales into the path of a ship. Additionally, slower vessel speeds may give a whale more time to detect, react and avoid a vessel. Finally, collision at a slower speed results in less actual impact (physical force) to the whale and to the vessel. This may spell the difference between mortality and less serious injury for the animal, and likewise, the difference between damage to the vessel or not.
Information in the Jensen and Silber (2003) database and Laist et al. (2001) indicates that the majority of vessel collisions with whales occurred at speeds between 13-15 knots. Overall, most ship strikes of large whale species occurred when ships were traveling at speeds of 10 knots or greater. Only 12.3% of the ship strikes in the Jensen and Silber database occurred when vessels were traveling at speeds of 10 knots or less. While vessel speed may not be the only factor in ship/whale collisions, or even the primary factor, data indicate that collisions are more likely to occur when ships are traveling at speeds of 14 knots or greater. This strongly suggests that ships going slower than 14 knots are less likely to collide with large whales. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries recommends that speed restrictions in the range of 10-13 knots be used, where appropriate, feasible, and effective, in areas where reduced speed is likely to reduce the risk of ship strikes and facilitate whale avoidance.
Some opponents to speed and routing management measures argue that a solution to the issue of right whale vessel strikes lies in educating mariners and/or outfitting ships with alarms and other technologies to warn whales. Although raising mariner awareness is an important facet of the ship strike strategy and something NOAA Fisheries has been actively engaged in for years, it is clear that ship strike and whale avoidance management must be addressed and not simply left to the vessel operator. In the Laist et al (2001) review of ship collisions, accounts indicate that most whales hit by ships were not seen beforehand or only seen at the last moment. Thus, collision avoidance strategies which rely on “mariner discretion” may be ineffective for large ships with limited maneuverability.
Likewise, just as NOAA Fisheries cannot rely on the mariner to react to potential collision situations, we cannot rely on the whale to avoid an approaching ship successfully. Since right whales engaged in feeding, mating or other social behaviors often appear oblivious to nearby vessel traffic, it cannot be assumed that they will avoid an approaching vessel, even if it were outfitted with alarms. In addition, in certain cases right whales may be unable to avoid the path of a ship due to hydrodynamic forces exerted upon them, their positive buoyancy and their lack of maneuverability during ascent. Because of these reasons, NOAA Fisheries believes measures to implement speed restrictions and/or re-route ships in specified areas are likely to be the most successful mechanisms to reduce the threat of ship strikes of right whales.



POSTED: 26 July 2006 - 7:30am HST

Courageous decision from Maui

in 1994 the ferry Estonia sinks killing 825

Maui to join lawsuit on SuperFerry
by Ilima Loomis on 23 July in the Maui News

The Maui County Council adopted a resolution, Frida,y asking county attorneys to join a law-suit against the state Department of Transportation that questions the adequacy of its environmental review of planned Kahului Harbor improvements.

The council voted 8-1 to take the action after spending more than three hours behind closed doors in an executive session with county attorneys. The lawsuit, filed in January in 2nd Circuit Court by Maui Tomorrow, the Friends of Haleakala National Park and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, calls for a judge to order the state to prepare an environmental impact statement on harbor improvement plans before going ahead with the projects.

Before calling for the vote, Council Chairman Riki Hokama, who introduced the resolution, said the state’s actions had been “bad for the economy, bad for our businesses, bad for our employees and bad for our community at large.”

Members of the groups who launched the lawsuit said Friday that the county’s participation could be decisive in supporting their cause, but they were concerned the timing of the intervention might impact an Aug. 17 hearing date on their motion for summary judgment in the case.

“It’s very important to us that hearing not be delayed or postponed,” warned attorney Isaac Hall.

Some testifiers also questioned whether county attorneys would be able to act impartially, since Mayor Alan Arakawa had already stated that he was not sure he would support joining the suit.

Council Member Jo Anne Johnson cast the lone vote against the resolution, saying she was concerned about the “unintended consequences” of intervening, including affecting the hearing date.

“Right now, there are other options which I believe this county could also pursue,” she said.

But other council members said after the meeting that their lengthy discussions with Corporation Counsel Brian Moto and First Deputy Corporation Counsel Jane Lovell during executive session had cleared up their concerns.

“I was satisfied with the information given to us and felt comfortable moving forward,” said Council Member Dain Kane.

Council Member Charmaine Tavares said the council had felt all along that the project needed a proper environmental impact statement.
“If it helps the case to be an intervener, we’re going to take that route,” she said.
The council voted unanimously last year to urge the Hawaii Superferry to conduct an environmental impact statement, but the vote resulted in no action by the company.

The lawsuit Maui Tomorrow Foundation v. the Department of Transportation disputes the state’s findings that no significant impacts would result from the state’s implementation of the 2005 Kahului Harbor Master Plan.

The plan was drafted and reviewed at public hearings in 2000, and did not take into consideration the impacts of the Hawaii Superferry.

With Kahului Harbor already crowded, existing users and community groups have questioned the impacts of adding the Superferry to the mix. Pier space assigned to the Superferry will take a quarter of the area now used by interisland cargo shipper Young Brothers Ltd.

As a result, Young Brothers has said it will no longer have room to continue shipping individual loads smaller than a full container.

Other concerns raised by protesters include the Superferry’s impact on Kahului traffic, the safety of whales that may cross its path and the movement of invasive species among islands.

On Friday, testifiers praised the council for getting involved and questioned why Arakawa hadn’t jumped aboard.

Sean Lester questioned whether county attorneys could straddle the divide between mayor and council.

“Please hire outside counsel to represent you,” he urged.

Warren Shibuya questioned why the state was “squeezing” another user into Kahului Harbor instead of improving the area first.|

“By the council’s intervention, we hope to delay and get an EIS on the Hawaii Superferry project,” he said.

Lance Holter, chairman of the Sierra Club Maui Group, told council members they were taking the lead for the county.

“You’re heroes here, and I welcome your participation in this lawsuit,” he said.

Aloha David,
Thank you for your call today expressing your interest and concerns about the Superferry.
Below are 2 copies of articles about the Maui County Council's decisions re the Superferry plus a copy of Sierra Club's letter to the DOT that we sent last year.
Here's what happened at the Maui County Council a week earlier that led up to their decision to join the lawsuit demanding an EIS for the Superferry:

Hokama proposes county join suit against ferry
by Valerie Monson in the Maui News

Even if his resolution asking for the delay of Hawaii Superferry were unanimously adopted by his colleagues, Maui County Council Chairman Riki Hokama realized it would carry no more weight than yet another protest sign.

So shortly after the stroke of midnight Tuesday with the lights still burning in the Council Chambers, Hokama suggested a plan to put some bite into the council’s language. He would draft an additional resolution that would give the county the option of entering into a lawsuit against Superferry.

“I think we need to have the maximum amount of challenges available to the county,” said Hokama near the end of a 5?-hour session that was recessed until 9 a.m. today.

“We need to put Maui in a situation where we can have choices in our future. I believe this is a home rule issue.”

If the council chooses to go in that direction, the county could join a lawsuit against the state Department of Transportation filed earlier this year by attorney Isaac Hall on behalf of three Maui organizations that say an environmental assessment of harbor improvement plans was not adequate. The suit will be heard in 2nd Circuit Court next month.

Hokama’s announcement jolted a groggy crowd back to life after a long meeting of the Committee of the Whole regarding two related issues: the introduction of Superferry to an already snarled Kahului Harbor and a request by Young Brothers Ltd. to end its service of shipping partial loads in and out of Maui.

Small merchants and farmers fear loss of the individual shipping service could devastate their businesses. Young Brothers officials say they have no choice but to ask the Public Utilities Commission to allow them to end the service after they were ordered by the state to vacate a fourth of their space at Pier 2 by Jan. 1 to accommodate the ferry that’s expected to launch in less than a year.

Terry O’Halloran, Superferry’s director of public affairs, didn’t want to comment on the possibility that the county could join the lawsuit as a plaintiff.

The resolution introduced by Hokama last month would not stop Superferry, but asks that the state delay its launch at Kahului until the harbor master plan is updated and an environmental impact statement (EIS) could be prepared.

Superferry originally said it hoped to begin its spoke-and-hub system connecting Kahului, Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Kawaihae (Big Island) to Oahu in 2007, but put off Kawaihae until 2009.

Reading from a report prepared last year for the Hawaii Harbor Users Group by an independent consultant, Hokama noted that the “harbor capacity situation on Maui is considered the most critical of all the Neighbor Islands.” The study said that with the rising cargo volumes and increasing numbers of passengers at Kahului, “service breakdowns and delivery disruptions” could be soon expected.
“Yet Kawaihae was delayed and not Kahului,” said Hokama, whose comments were echoed by Council Member Joe Pontanilla.

Deputy Transportation Director Barry Fukunaga said one harbor had to be put on hold because last year the state Legislature cut in half a $40 million request for barges and ramps needed for Superferry to access the piers. With only $20 million to get started, it was decided to delay operations at Kawaihae because Superferry officials had targeted Maui as the choice link to Oahu from day one.
“They have always looked at Maui as their preferred destination . . . over Nawiliwili and Kawaihae,” said Fukunaga.

Hokama wondered why Gov. Linda Lingle, long a proponent of “home rule,” wouldn’t consider the cries of the community she served as mayor for eight years. Mayor Alan Arakawa, the council, Planning Director Mike Foley, Haleakala National Park and others have all called for an EIS.

During a break in the meeting, Transportation Director Rod Haraga said Lingle “is very concerned” about the turmoil on Maui.

“She believes in home rule,” said Haraga.

It was also learned from Fukunaga that Superferry’s operating agreement with the state was a “unique arrangement” that other harbor users have not been offered. Included in the document is a liability clause that could give the company $18,000 a day if delays occur – something no other harbor user impacted by the ferry could fall back on.
“It will be a model agreement” for other users, said Fukunaga.
Council Member Michelle Anderson was incensed that one harbor business – and an unproven entity at that – would be given such an advantage.
“Young Brothers has no agreement, the cruise ships have no agreement, yet Superferry has all the protection in the world,” said Anderson. “It’s like everyone else just move aside.

“I think it’s unfair that Young Brothers is being undermined after their years of investment and somebody else comes along from who knows where and gets a green light.”

Most of the questions were directed at Fukunaga, who wrapped up his opening remarks with an apology to the Maui community.

“The DOT Harbors Division apologizes to the public and the Maui County Council for the lack of information that has led to the need to resort to a county resolution requesting a delay in the Hawaii Superferry operations,” he said. “However, we did not have all the detailed information immediately available.”

Fukunaga said that DOT is in the midst of reviewing the Superferry operator’s “intermediate operating plan,” submitted last month. The final plan is due in November. Only DOT will review the plan.

Superferry has been bolstered by a $139 million federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Maritime Administration and a $71 million private investment from a company headed by J.F. Lehman, former secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan.

During his presentation, O’Halloran emphasized that his company was doing everything it could to allay the public’s concerns. O’Halloran said Superferry would be “one of the most environmentally friendly vessels” in Hawaii, was working with state Department of Agriculture officials to control transfer of alien species and had adjusted its arrival time at Kahului to avoid peak traffic hours.
Superferry will use an alternate route in the winter to avoid whales and would employ two “spotters” – equipped with night vision goggles after dark – to keep a watch out for them.

After the meeting, O’Halloran said Superferry was satisfied with the amount of space that it was awarded by the state. Superferry, which is expected to be in port only an hour or two a day, was given four acres at the pier and yard.
Young Brothers, which handles at least five barges a week at Kahului, saw its operating footprint shrink to less than 12 acres.

Young Brothers President Glenn Hong said he regretted having to end the shipment of partial loads at Kahului, but that there was simply no more room, even though the company is asking for additional space. Cargo shipments to Maui are expected to grow by another 10 percent this year alone. |

Because of cramped harbor space across Hawaii, Hong said Young Brothers will be looking at eliminating the service at all ports in a few years.

“LCL (less than container load) is a very traditional part of Young Brothers,” said Hong. “It’s tough for us to say it’s time to get out of LCL. But we can’t continue to do it the way we did in the past. We’re gridlocked.”

In response to a question from committee Chairman Mike Molina, Hong said he had made a commitment to all workers at Kahului Harbor that their jobs were secure. If they are asked to perform new duties, training will be provided, he said.
Some in the crowd continued to speculate that Young Brothers was taking advantage of the introduction of Superferry to get rid of the time-consuming service and increase its profits.

Lingle also prepared a “position” statement regarding the impacts of the end of LCL service by Young Brothers, but it was never read aloud. Haraga provided a copy to The Maui News.

“Young Brothers has made the business decision to exit the ’less-than-container load’ service in Kahului,” the statement said. “Governor Linda Lingle has confidence in the Public Utilities Commission to render a ruling in a timely manner, that balances the public’s interest in this case with the operational requirements of Young Brothers.

“The Governor is concerned that should the PUC rule that Young Brothers may discontinue the LCL business, that Maui residents and businesses have sufficient time to adjust to using freight forwarders and consolidators,” the statement continued. “Under no circumstances should Maui residents and businesses be placed in a situation that will jeopardize their ability to move cargo between the Hawaiian Islands in a fair and reasonable manner.”

During 2? hours of public testimony, no one spoke in favor of Superferry. It was former Corporation Counsel James Takayesu who suggested – and urged – that the council become a party to the existing lawsuit.

“This resolution will do nothing to stop Superferry,” he said.

Fukunaga later said that the state would not owe Superferry the $18,000-a-day penalty for a delay if it is caused by a court action.

The environmental assessment approved by the state and challenged by the lawsuit contained no mention of the introduction of Superferry at the harbor.
Hokama took Takayesu’s suggestion to heart.

“The result that the state wants might be a good result, but I don’t understand the lack of a process to mitigate negative impacts,” said Hokama. “How can the state keep taking the stance that there’s no significant impact?”

Valerie Monson can be reached at



POSTED: 15 July 2006 - 4:30am HST

Maui County seeks ferry delay

Kahului Harbor looking southwest to Mount Haleakeka in distance

Maui demands EIS before Superferry commences
by Dick Mayer on 13 July 2006

The Maui County Council's Committee passed a resolution today asking that the commencement of Hawaii SuperFerry operations at Kahului Harbor be postponed until there is an EIS, an update of the Kahului Harbor Master Plan, and the construction of needed improvements.

The vote was unanimous!

The full Council will take up the resolution on Monday, August 14.

The Council soon will take up an additional item: to possibly have the County enter into litigation to back up the resolution.

For a PDF copy of the Maui County Resolution click here.

contact Dick Mayer at:
phone: (808) 878-1874

County legal action against Superferry delayed
by Valerie Monson on 14 July 2006 in The Maui News

The county won’t take legal action against the state to put the brakes on Hawaii Superferry – not just yet anyway.

Maui County Council Chairman Riki Hokama’s midnight suggestion earlier this week to prepare a resolution that would give the county the option of joining a lawsuit that could postpone Superferry’s operations at Kahului Harbor was deemed off-limits when the Committee of the Whole meeting resumed Thursday. Corporation Counsel Brian Moto said the item had not been noticed properly to the public and, if action were taken, would constitute a violation of the Sunshine Law.

But judging from the comments of the six committee members present, such a resolution – which Hokama intends to pursue – would get emphatic support.
“I look forward to the legal challenge because that’s the only way the state is going to listen,” said Council Member Danny Mateo.

Council members went ahead and unanimously passed Hokama’s resolution that opposes the proposed commencement of Superferry at Kahului on July 1, 2007, until an update of the harbor master plan and an environmental impact statement can be completed. The resolution will come before the full council Aug. 14.
The resolution carries no force of law, but committee members hoped that their united stand finally would make state officials, especially Gov. Linda Lingle, and Superferry executives take notice.

“While this may be a symbolic gesture, it’s also a statement,” said Hokama. “Maui County won’t tolerate its future being dictated by people who aren’t its residents.”

Before taking action, members continued their grilling of representatives from the state Department of Transportation, Superferry and Young Brothers Ltd. to try to piece together key segments of a plan with so many holes that some are predicting a complete breakdown at Kahului Harbor unless the ferry is held up.
Even the question-and-answer period didn’t provide much relief.

“It makes me very uncomfortable to face my community and say that we have no answers on so many concerns and yet this wave is still coming,” said Hokama.
The crisis at the harbor – it’s usually already chock full Fridays if not at other times even without Superferry – will get worse when Young Brothers vacates a fourth of its space to make way for the four-story ferry that’s bigger than a football field.

Because it must give up so much room, Young Brothers has said it must discontinue shipping pallet-sized loads and let middlemen handle the service.
Not only will the small-business community on Maui be impacted when changes go into effect Jan. 1, but also Lanai and Molokai.

Barry Fukunaga, state harbors chief, tossed out some ideas on how Lanai and Molokai could continue to get pallet-sized cargo at the same or similar prices. Fukunaga suggested that a state subsidy to Young Brothers might be in order and that freight forwarders set up shop on each of those remote islands, which could save time and fuel costs for merchants or farmers who have to drive their goods to and from the docks.

During the vote, Council Member Charmaine Tavares endorsed the idea of offering subsidies – either by the state or the county – to help keep shipping prices low for the small-business community in general that could be crippled by rate hikes, incurring costs that will be passed on to consumers.

“We subsidize transportation. We subsidize the emergency helicopter. Why can’t we subsidize partnerships or co-ops that would support our small businesses?” said Tavares after the meeting.

“We know that Young Brothers can’t do it anymore. We know that consolidation will cost more. Let’s look at other ways and not just say, ’Woe is us.’ We need to support our small businesses.”

Earlier, Fukunaga was asked about a recent proposal by Maui Land & Pineapple Co. to get into the freight business and ship cargo via Superferry.

(Superferry did not endorse ML&P’s plan even though ML&P is an investor.)
Fukunaga said the ferry was “primarily a passenger-oriented service” with cargo shipping an “incidental” portion.

Floor heights of the ferry would be impacted by opening business up to the tall semis, which would eliminate capacity for cars, said Fukunaga.

Council members also were frustrated that so many parts of the Superferry plan remain in the works with less than a year to go.

But spokesman Terry O’Halloran insisted that everything would be addressed when the final operational plan is submitted to state transportation officials in November.
Furthermore, said O’Halloran, the council – and the public – could review the document to provide more recommendations.
“There will be subsequent opportunity for the county and public to make additional comments,” O’Halloran said.
Council Member Michelle Anderson found it hard to believe that Superferry would be able to fully inspect and load as many as 282 cars in 30 minutes.
She also was concerned that alien species and illegal drug shipments would be inevitable.
Throughout much of the morning, the governor was on the hot seat in absentia.
Lingle’s long-touted platform of “home rule” was ridiculed by council members.
“Home rule seems to be something the governor expounds upon when home rule is in her favor,” said Anderson.

One of Lingle’s gubernatorial challengers, Democrat Randy Iwase, jumped into the Superferry controversy Thursday afternoon with his concerns about Young Brothers’ request to end shipment of partial loads.

In a statement, Iwase blamed the Lingle administration for neglecting harbor expansion for four years, which has led to the crisis. Iwase said Superferry has “the support of Governor Lingle.”

“The governor must review options to determine if LCL (less than container load) space can be retained at Kahului Harbor until future facilities can be constructed,” said Iwase.

“It is also important to ascertain what effects, if any, the loss of Young Brothers’ LCL operations at Pier 2 will have on dock worker jobs.”

(Young Brothers President Glenn Hong said Tuesday night that no jobs will be lost and that training will be provided for those who may be required to learn additional skills.)

State Transportation Director Rod Haraga told The Maui News that Lingle has said she “supports all modes of transportation” to give residents alternatives.
The lawsuit council members might urge the county to join was filed earlier this year by attorney Isaac Hall on behalf of three Maui organizations.

The groups say an environmental assessment prepared by the state on harbor improvements was inadequate. Superferry was not addressed in that plan.



POSTED: 29 June 2006 - 2:30am HST

Thoughts on the SuperFerry

ferry service to Moorea from Tahiti on a boatthe fraction the size of the "SuperFerry" impacts island

Letter to State DOT on Superferry
by Ted Kawahinehelelani Blake on 27 June 2006

There is an upside to having a ferry service between Kaua’i and the other islands and there is a downside.

Though the decision making process regarding ferry service to each island was conducted above the County level, there are issues that should be put forth and dealt with so the ferry service will enhance rather than diminish our Kaua’i lifestyle.

I moved to Mo‘orea, French Polynesia twelve years ago. There are four ferries transporting workers, students, residents, tourist, goods, merchandise and autos daily between the island of Mo‘orea and the main island of Tahiti.

The fast ferries (2) make the 12 mile channel crossing in 22 minutes traveling between 38-40 knots per hour carrying passengers (300-500 passengers) and a limited number of automobiles (20-30). Larger ferries (2) (120-150 passenger autos- 250 passengers) make the crossing in an hour also transporting delivery trucks, buses and tractor trailers.

The four ferries do 18 round trips on weekdays and 14 round trips on weekends. The importance of the ferries to the economic and social life of Mo‘orea goes without saying.

Sport teams, from youth to masters, are able to travel and compete at a higher level with teams from Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia. Residents are able to travel to Papeete, Tahiti island daily to work or shop at lower prices. More goods and services are brought to Mo‘orea by the ferries.

There are sacrifices and a high price to pay by the inhabitants of Mo‘orea for these conveniences and services. The reality of inter island travel is as follows;

• Weekends bring a tremendous influx of festive Tahiti residents to Mo‘orea with their automobiles.
• As a rule weekenders drive faster on the highways.
• Lagoons are plundered to fill coolers with fish and reef delicacies to take back to Tahiti.
• Indiscriminate trashing of roadways and beaches with varied types of litter.
• Surfers, wind surfers, jet skis, fishing boats and kite surfers overwhelm and tax ocean activities and resources forcing most Mo‘orea residents to relinquish these activities over the weekend.
• Teenagers, young adults and adults come to party and many show little if any respect for their local neighbors in their quest for partying and relaxation.

There is also a criminal issue with which Mo‘orea has to contend with. Thieves catch the last ferries of the day from Tahiti, burglarize homes and businesses and return on the first ferry to Tahiti the next morning, often before the victims themselves know they have been burglarized.

We have had mongoose sightings. Chameleons, bulbuls and parrots have established themselves here. Iguanas and other foreign animals have found their way to our shores. Brown tree snakes have been found on O‘ahu and so far as we know have been interdicted by authorities there. Coqui frogs have established colonies and infested the rain forest of other islands though their colonies are still controllable on Kaua‘i.

Kauai is different than Hawaii, Lanai, Molokai, Maui and Oahu. Lifelong and recent residents know this and have stated such.

• Will the Superferry be the demise of Kaua‘i’s uniqueness?
• Will the homeless from the other islands find Kaua‘i’s hospitality more inviting than where they presently are?
• Will nonresidents respect and not loot our shoreline of limu and opihi?
• Will our reefs be overfished?
• Will off island burglars find the convenience of inter-island ferry travel with their personal vehicles less scrutinizing and inviting?
• Will parks and camping areas be overtaxed.
• Will Kaua‘i surfers experience more wave rage with the influx of off islanders on a surfing safari?

The careful examination and research of the points above and how it will affect Kaua‘i appear to have been nonexistent. Taken on face value, we will suffer adverse effects from the lack of how this proposed mode of inter island travel will affect the Kaua‘i’s community and environment.

Government, the private sector and the community have worked hard for many years to position and brand Kaua‘i the Garden Island and attract quality visitors to our shores. Can you envision the eminent erosion of this hard work and sacrifice without checks on the Superferry?

As we are all familiar with the extensive security checks one has to pass when traveling by plane these days, I hope we are looking into the same type of security scrutiny on arriving and departing passengers, autos, produce, merchandise and other trucks and vehicles who will utilize the Superferry.

I believe these problems will be germane to every island serviced by the Superferry. The Superferry may have been forced upon us but there are ways we can set up defenses to control and protect our environment, facilities, homes, beaches, campgrounds, parks, residents, tourist and island.

Please insure that local interest and value are not consumed by the the State juggernaut.

Drive by Punalu‘u and Hau‘ula so you can experience wall to wall tents and canvas subdivisions.

Camping permits on Kaua‘i will have to be reserved a year ahead of time in order to compete with off island interest.

No more spur of the moment Dad coming home and saying, “Let’s go camping”.

There never has been sufficient enforcement of fish and game rules.

I would hope that our forest are not denuded of native plants and flowers by urban halau unfamiliar to conservation and the carrying capacity of the forest.

Traffic and parking facilities island wide will be overtaxed. Already burdened by prospective development due to 1970’s zoning will be further taxed.

At best, local businesses will deposit a few more shekels every Monday morning as payment in full for our becoming a suburb of Honolulu. Aloha pumehana,

Ted Kawahinehelelani Blake
P.O.Box 159
Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii 96756



POSTED: 29 June 2006 - 2:30am HST

Kauai Meeting on the SuperFerry

Healy Tibbits dredging boom in Honolulu "Sewing the World for over 100 Years"

by Faith Harding 28 June 2006

The Gist of the Meeting
It was a long night. Presenters included representatives of the Hawaiian Super Ferry (HSF), Hawaiian Department of Transportation (DOT), and the contractor, Healy-Tibbits Builders Inc., that is building the ramps. The presentations droned on and on.

By the time anyone got up to speak from the audience, it after 8:30.It was tiring and boring.It seemed like they were trying to wear down the public so they would leave or not ask any questions. They had their Powerpoint endless presentation with facts, figures and illustrations. They did mention the HSF has a whale avoidance policy and an invasive species policy. However, with a one hour turnaround time it seems there will be pressure to rush procedures.

Most members of the public who spoke were against the SuperFerry or wanted to see an Environmental Impact Statement and a delay in SuperFerry operations to Kauai.

My statements and questions about use of the ferry by the military were strongly denied by a member of the Advisory Committee". I was quoting from the Maui News, Maui Examiner and this website. The committee member went on and on about how wrong this was and that the information was merely a rumor. I was the ONLY person to mention the Stryker transport issue. It didn't seem to faze anyone. Many people had started to leave by then.

Ted Kawahinehelelani Blake, from Mo'orea, made a very poignant speech.He mentioned as to the state of Tahiti and the other islands because of their ferries. He can be contacted at

The situation is such that it doesn't really matter. The ferry coming to Kauai.

Rich Hoeppner, Wailua Homesteads, is starting a petition to the Governor that will state we demand an EI, Cultural and Economical Studies/Statements before the HSF comes to Kauai. He and his wife can be reached at
Rich will be on Mahelani Silva's program on KKCR @ 1pm Saturday July 1st.

More on the meeting's content
The legislature appropriates budgeted monies in the forms of bonds to DOT-Harbors Division, so the 40M will be paid back in harbors' fees from HSF. However, most projects/private business that use public funds must have impact statements. How HSF got around this is still unclear but mainly it has to do with the DOT's interpretations. In addition they got a substantial loan guarantee from the Maritime Administration.

Initially, Hooser's Energy/Environmental Committee said yes to an EIS and the Transportation Committee said no. Then then monies were divided up into to two 20M sums. In order to get the second 20M Hooser's Energy/Environmental Committee said that HSF need to honor Kauai and Maui Co. Councils requests. The Ways and Means Committees said no to County Councils' stipulations. The Ways and Means Committee said that HSF needed to have 3 public meetings, there were to be 3 and instead of 3 separate meetings during the various stages of HSF, they did all 3 in 2 days time (these meetings that just occurred).

The Kauai Advisory Committee is the HSF's advisory council, they are advising HSF of what is happening on Kauai and Maui. There was one advisory council person that stated she was the only member that had enough guts to face the public. We are trying to find out who the members are on this Advisory Committee.

Hooser does have a written statement (which he's sending us) that HSF is NOT involved nor are they negotiating with the military. It is not part of their business plan.

What we can do:
Need to inundate all the papers, GIN, Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser with letters to the editor and putting pressure on the Governor to do something about this.

Maui Tomorrow and Sierra Club is suing the State and he suggested we piggyback with them.

We need to inundate HSF about their operational plan for crime, traffic, invasive species etc. as they are not giving us specifics. They haven't put any resources forward on these and other concerns/issues.

see also
Island Breath: Superferry Redux
Island Breath: Superferry Problems