Friday, February 22, 2008

HI Superferry: Research on State/HSF Kahului Barge

The following is reposted with permission from, my comments at the bottom:

Were HSF Harbor Designs Rushed? by Bill Schultz on 20 February 2008

"I was looking for information to confirm or deny the rumored damage to the HSF and came across this useful site:

You'll find an emergency requisition request for the services of a Naval architect regarding a barge in Kahului. It's:

I thought it odd that the requirements and scope of work require that the findings 'shall support assurances that the operations of state owned equipment are in the interest of safety of the operators and the general public,' that the report should 'Provide load calculation, stamped by a professional engineer, for the Kahului barge soft line mooring system SHOWING THE ADEQUACY AND INTEGRITY OF THE LINES AND MOORING SYSTEM' (emphasis added) and furthur that 'The calculations should be based on the basis of the original mooring system.'

Apparently, the state had not previously had the load calculations performed by a professional naval architect or they would have simply produced the document at the CG's request after the barge broke loose and the bollards were sheered off.

Would a reputable naval architect agree to the terms of the requested report given that the calculations had not yet been performed but the results are already specified?

Why was the no-bid work awarded to a company as far away as Alexandria, VA, when another emergency procurement regarding naval architect services and the barge evaluation was awarded to a local company on the same day? See:

Why would the winner of the $12,000.00 contract agree to these terms unless they had some interest in getting the HSF into service at the earliest possible date?

The company is Alion Science and Technology, rated number 79 in the top 100 defense contractors of 2007. The same company whose declared growth strategy includes 'we anticipate expanding our support to the U.S. Navy in new ship systems such as DD(x) and LCS.' "LCS" is navspeak for "Littoral Combat Ship." This quote is from the 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange commision and can be found at:

The same company whose chief science advisor is retired Admiral Edward Lindquist, one of the most prolific writers and outspoken advocates of LCS development:,+Tested+at+%20Panama+City-202603.html I haven't found what I was looking for yet but I thought you'd be interested in this... development." END QUOTE FROM Bill Schultz

I'll just comment from Bill's second to the last article quoted above: "Alion Awarded $5.6m Contract Option" "The Naval Sea Systems Command has exercised a $5.6m contract option for Alion Science and Technology, an employee-owned technology solutions company, to provide acquisition management support to its Program Executive Office Ships Acquisition Management (PEO Ships AM) Directorate."

The PEO SAM is the office handling the whole JHSV contract process and selection, of which Austal-USA is expected to submit a design based on the same hull and general design of the HSF Alakai. Alion is providing PEO SAM "acquisition management support" and providing the state of Hawaii the required barge evaluation that "Provide load calculation, stamped by a professional engineer, for the Kahului barge soft line mooring system SHOWING THE ADEQUACY AND INTEGRITY OF THE LINES AND MOORING SYSTEM."

There is more research that could be done on this whole barge issue. The main question I would ask is why was a barge decided on when these fast ferries often have their own ramp built onto the ship that can be extended out by the ship when loading/unloading. In fact, one of the requirements of fast ferries leased by the military and of the JHSV program is that they have their own extendable ramps onboard. So my question, why was the state convinced by HSF to build the barge/ramp?

Aloha, Brad

Bill Schultz from above points out the following links in his continuing research:
Regarding a Professional Services Contract for an 'Intra-island Passenger Ferry Service on a Demonstration Basis' and Alion [Editor's note: This may be reference to 'The Boat']:
Regarding Alion Science & Technology:
'Read the page carefully. They actually take credit for designing the least reliable and biggest failures in the fast ferry business, the Pacificats.'
And for another interesting piece of information regarding Alion. Read this:
The T-craft is how they plan to unload [the JHSV on open water].


MauiBrad said...

To my concluding question above I got back a few responses in e-mail that I was asked to attach here as comments:

Hi Brad:

I have been wondering about the Superferry/barge issue for some time...You might want to post it as a comment on your blog...

Answer: I am weak on this legalese stuff - but I think the barge concept came up as part of the Lingle administration and HSF working together so that HSF could avoid federal and/or state laws – like having to do an EA or an EIS before the Superferry could go into operation.

I recall reading two legal arguments as follows:

Argument #1. If the Superferry were permitted to tie up and unload directly on to a dock it would be necessary to make minor but legally significant modifications to the dock which is considered state land. This would trigger the need for an EA or an EIS.

However, if the Superferry were to unload to a barge, the modifications necessary to tie the barge to the dock would be small enough to be considered legally minor – so HSF could forget about environmental laws.

Argument #2. If the Superferry did not make direct contact with a dock (again state land), it would fall into the same category as foreign cruise ships which are (supposedly) exempt from US environmental laws because they don’t make direct contact with U.S. soil.

So I doubt if the barges have any practical value. It seems to come down to the state backing a 40 million dollar revenue bond for the sole purpose of helping HSF get around existing laws.

This strikes me as a great example of corruption in the Lingle administration. It would be almost comical if not for accidents like one of the barges breaking loose. In addition, the taxpayer would be stuck with a bill for 40 million dollars if and when the Superferry goes belly-up or decides to sail off into the sunset.

Again, I am weak on this legal stuff so tell me if I am wrong. But it seems to me that the Superferry/barge fiasco just adds to the image of Hawaii being a banana republic.



MauiBrad said...

And a second insightful response:

hey brad seems to me a 'reason' for the state improvements at the harbors for HSF would be to have a "buy in" to the project, the state has invested all this money, $40M, and therefore should support HSF

for example, $350K for tug service for the barge, as it's a state contract to provide "dock facilities" to HSF, or they would SUE the state for failure to meet the contract.....$18K per day !!! and the DOT told them the barge was a bad idea??

go back through the advertiser archive.....HSF donates to lingle....HSF gotta leave if no OK to run....HSF losing $650K per week....HSF lays off 350 employes.....STATE MUST PAY FOR HARBOR IMPROVEMENTS IF HSF GOES.....

this boat is a turkey...if the state has a big piece of the action....then it's OUR turkey, eh?



aloha brad from hnl advertiser archives #125 state wanted review for superferry jan 6, 2008 id # 57492072

the state WANTED the HSF, and was very willing to spend our taxes on the piers, ramps, barges, etc.

there is a quote from Ferrybaldi to the effect "we don't need no stinkin' ramp" the EIS was a deal breaker, and I suspect the milaferry contract , or the resale of this turkey, did not involve "ramp" as part of the "business plan"

makes NO sense, of course, but this whole saga , remember, has NOTHING to do with a ferry service here in hawai''s a MILAFERRY or trying to be one or trying to get a contract.....


MauiBrad said...

And one more good one from the original researcher on this:

Aloha Brad,

Feel free to post or forward. The more people who know the truth, the better. I'll see what I can find out on your other questions...I have found some interesting things associating Alion with the Carlyle Group. You may have heard of them.
Alion is employee owned. The employees own stock and invest even their 401K's most heavily in Alion. That is one possible reason a Naval Architect would...I'll put together what I find and send it when it get's interesting again.
Thanks for the heads up on possible contact. I've already given some tips and observations to...regarding his recent series on how the HSF exemption got pushed through to begin with...Something is really wrong in this...picture...My skillset doesn't have much of a market in the islands unless I wanted to sell out and work the PMRF. That isn't in my future...I met him at Nawiliwili, the night of the last full lunar eclipse when the HSF turned around. I saw how out of hand things nearly got and decided to get educated and get involved.

Aloha... More soon,

Bill S.

MauiBrad said...

One more response I forgot from Bill S.:

Aloha Brad,

I believe I have the answer to the question you posted today. You queried, 'The main question I would ask is why was a barge decided on when these fast ferries often have their own ramp built onto the ship that can be extended out by the ship when loading/unloading?'

I found another interesting piece of information regarding Alion. Read this:

The T-craft is how they plan to unload the [JHSV]. It can:
'go across the ocean and link up with a large logistics ship and take on some of the roll-on, roll-off cargo and then land it on the beach'
'will have four modes of operation: open ocean transit mode, transfer cargo at sea base, sprint, and an amphibious mode to travel over sand bars and mud flats.'

The home port of the HSF has a substantial berth, built to last. The ports of call at Nawiliwili and Kahului have temporary... It seems entirely likely that the reason they are temporary is because the ferry service is also planned to be temporary, but the intent is to maintain the capability of loading on Oahu. It's permanent.
This also explains why the HSF is so much bigger than the inter-island civilian market warrants and why the range of the HSF is so much greater than required for inter-island use. It's intended to go much furthur.

So here is a question for you:
What vehicles and passengers do you think they would want to load for a long trip and where might they be expected to go?


Bill S.

MauiBrad said...

Here is another update from Bill on his research:

RE: New stuff?‏
From: Bill Schultz
Sent: Mon 2/25/08


I'm trying to get accustomed to surprises as I research the history of the HSF, but this one is just too much:
In 2005 the state of Hawaii was in need of help to prepare a request for proposal to develop 'Intra-island Passenger Ferry Service on a Demonstration Basis.' (Intra-? Webster definition 'within' turns out to be funny because this ferry certainly hasn't tuned out to be inter.) [Editor's Note: This may be referring to 'The Boat' which is an intra-island ferry.--BP]
Check this:
It's an award of contract for professional services. No review committee. No selection committee. The official who made the award is none other than, Mary Patricia Waterhouse. You may have heard of her before. She's the same individual involved in the transit scandal:
that led to a lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu claiming:
'Communications Pacific alleges in the lawsuit that Mary Patricia Waterhouse, Director of the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, and Toru Hamayasu, Acting Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation Services, broke the procurement code by directing Parsons Brinkerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc. to include Community Planning and Engineering Inc. for the “public involvement” portion of the project.'

Back to award #4083 that awards consultation on the ferry service. Number one on the list of awardees is Alion Science & Technology! It turns out that in the spare time when they are not developing Littoral Combat Ships, Alion makes claims to be big in the ferry and high-speed catamaran design market.
Read the page carefully. They actually take credit for designing the least reliable and biggest failures in the fast ferry business, the Pacificats.

Check me if I'm wrong, but it looks like the State of Hawaii awarded the ferry consultation contract to the designers of one of the biggest, notorious failures in ferry history. What justification could Mary Patricia Waterhouse have had for this award?

I'm still looking for the other stuff, just had to share...

Bill S.