Saturday, March 29, 2008

HI Superferry: Act. 2 Testimony...Enough Liferafts?

First, there was a lot of good testimony, esp. on Kauai, but the following written testimony is what I was given. In particular I am looking at the point brought up regarding adequate numbers of liferafts onboard and whether liferafts or lifeboats would be required at sea. At a minimum, one would think there should be enough liferafts for full passenger capacity on the vessel. First, a useful and interesting cite from the Legislative web site. Notice it is called the "Superferry Bill" and not "a large capacity ferry vessel company" bill at:

From: Richard Hoeppner, March 19, 2008, afternoon testimony for Act. 2,

"This hearing is an effort in futility, it is a sham, as is Act II that requires it. Act II is a bastardization of the rule of law and a prostitution of the legislative process. There are currently two cases filed with the Hawaii Appeals Court to determine it’s constitutionality, which [should] make this process irrelevant.

The Act itself makes this process irrelevant under Part III, which relates to this EIS by stating: “Nothing in this Part shall be deemed or construed to impose a condition precedent to any activity authorized under Parts I, II, or IV of this act.”

This process is One Million Dollars wasted, and will have NO effect on any impacts to our environment.

The Governor has thus far blocked an Audit required under Part I, Page 4, Line 5, relating to how the State determined the exemption for an EIS on the Superferry. That Audit could also make this process irrelevant, and [this] should be delayed until that Audit is completed.

If you insist on carrying out a False EIS, then the Act itself demands that you earn your Million Dollars.

The Act itself lists effects that are likely to be caused by Superferry. In Part II it lists what effects the Governor must consider on Page 16, lines 5 through 15. These same effects are listed in Part IV, page 45, lines 1 through 13, showing the impacts that the task force is to consider.

Why should you not be required to cover the same issues that the Governor and the Task Force are required to consider, and they are:

1. Ocean life and marine animals and plants, including a whale avoidance policy and procedures
2. water resources and quality
3. harbor infrastructure
4. vehicular traffic
5. public safety and security
6. controlling the spread of invasive species
7. cultural resources, including hunting, fishing, and native Hawaiian resources
8. economic consequences and impact
9. other natural resources and community concerns

Item (5) line 10 of Page 16 lists “Public safety and security” which hasn’t been talked about very much. With Superferry history of seasickness and floors afloat with vomit because they ran out of barf bags, there has to be a health issue that should be examined.

If Superferry hits a[...] whale and causes more damage to the auxiliary rudders, could the hulls be cracked to an even greater extent, causing the craft to sink? The Coast Guard distinguishes between “life boats” and “life rafts” for ocean going vessels. Does Superferry have sufficient safety craft on board to accomadate the number of passengers it is capable of carrying? These are issues you must examine. [...]

Read Act II, the unconstitutional Superferry bill, and you will see what DOT’s own law requires that you do."

I, Brad, am still researching the above point regarding liferafts and have a call into people who should know to find out more on this.

Also, Rich Hoeppner had another very interesting statement presented on July 7, 2007, at the 3rd HSF Meeting w/the Kauai community required by the Senate. There were about 150 people in attendance at that time:

"There are so many unanswered questions regarding the Hawaii Superferry. How can so many presumably intelligent people not see the difference between the Superferry operation and that of Young Brother’s and Matson lines? Both of the latter have been in operation for over a hundred years, 1900 and 1862, have proven themselves effective without causing problems and without which the outer islands could not function. Everybody knows the impacts of these companies on the Hawaiian Islands and it is accepted by all.

The Superferry operation on the other hand is new, unproven, and totally unique. No other craft sailing Hawaiian waters travels at even half the speed, no other craft accommodates up to 250 drive on/drive off private vehicles, no other craft [would dock] at all four major ports on a daily basis, and no other craft utilizes the narrow catamaran hulls which can be deadly to whales, as evidenced by similar craft in the Canary Islands. Nobody knows what the environmental and cultural impact of the Superferry will be on our islands, except possibly Superferry promoters, causing them to resist the EIS.

More important than any of the above information, is the integrity and truthfulness of the people involved in the promotion of this project. They still advertise their operation as affordable and convenient, with weekend fares at $52 per person and $65 per car. In very fine print is the mention of a fuel surcharge based on marine diesel oil (MDO) priced at $300 per metric ton, with a 2% rise in fare price for each 10% rise is in MDO. They also know that the present MDO price is $585. It was as high as $790 just a few months ago and is on the rise since the elections. Is this deceptive, or outright dishonesty? [MDO is well over $900 per metric ton right now, 3/29/08, three times the pricing cost that HSF originally calculated, see:]

1. They advertise how great it will be for the small farmer from Kauai to take his produce to Honolulu on the Superferry. That small farmer will have to pay $1,360 to get his truck and produce to Oahu and back, will get into Honolulu at 9:30PM from Kauai, will have to pay for a Hotel, and have only until about 1:30PM the next day to get rid of his produce. He will have to sell a hell of a [lot] of Papaya to cover that cost. Those traveling from Oahu to Maui will have to be at the port to be inspected by about 4AM; that is anything but convenient. Again, where is the honesty?

They advertise that their boat is eco-friendly. I went to a Chamber of Commerce meeting last week where Superferry was the star. They had a new folder with allegedly all new information. It was much of the same information, same claims they have been making about studies and cooperation with agencies, but again, generalities with no details; the appendix was not included.

They did have an Austal specification sheet for the Auto Express 107, their craft, but one very important specification was eliminated form their Austal sheet. The fact that their superferry burns 1,981 gallons of diesel fuel per hour, or nearly 12,000 gallons round trip Oahu to Kauai and back. Is that eco-friendly and does their elimination of that detail from the spec sheet give an indication of how honest they are, or is it just one more indication of their deceitful tactics.

2. Mr. Fukanaga claims he and his staff determined that Superferry was entitled to an exemption from an EIS. Is that true or did the order come from his boss, Governor Lingle? How did Lehman, Garibaldi and others know they would get fast track treatment to invest millions without going through normal channels. The state environmental board has said that this exemption was wrong.

Mr. Fukanaga, did you do an investigation before you exempted them from an EIS, and invested $40M for barges and ramps at our docks that can only be utilized by a Superferry type craft? Did you check the backgrounds of the people involved in Superferry to determine past history as CEOs, CFOs and VPs in prior ventures?

Were you aware of the background of Mr. Lehman, Chairman of the Board of Superferry? Is this the same John F. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan [...]? Is this the same John F. Lehman that was a co-author of Project for a New American Century, promoting policies that produced the catastrophe of Iraq, and who was a member of the 911 Commission that many people think was a white wash of what happened at the twin towers?

Is Mr. Garibaldi the same John Garibaldi that was CFO of Hawaiian Airlines shortly before they declared bankruptcy, and then accepted an enormous severance package?

3. Is Mr. O’Halloran the same Terry O’Halloran who is chairman of the Whale Sanctuary Advisory Committee that approved a whale avoidance policy of two people with binoculars watching for whales? How convenient to be on the Sanctuary Advisory Committee and be Director of Business Development for Superferry. Does this obvious conflict of interest indicate lack of integrity?

Is Mr. White, Vice President of Superferry, the same Terry White who is also on the Whale Sanctuary Advisory Committee, and was involved in the American Classic Cruise Lines that filed the largest bankruptcy in the history of a U.S. Maritime Administration backed loan, the same U.S. agency backing a $140M loan for the Superferry?

Did you check the background and financial interests of another superferry VP, Tig Krekel? Is this the same Tig Krekel who has been President, Vice President, or CEO, of Corporations such as Boeing Satellite Systems, Hughes Space and Communications, and Aerospace Equipment Systems group of Allied Signal? Is this the same Tig Krekel who is involved with a company named Sea Launch, which launches satellites form the equator directly south of Hawaii?

Mr. Fukanaga, did you ask for an accounting of financial viability of the nearly $300M project before committing $40M of harbor funds? Is your promotion from head of Hawaii Harbors to head of Department of Transportation justified if you didn’t? Many people don’t think so.

4. Why did the people who initiated the Superferry operation choose a vessel 107 meters, 350 feet in length with a capacity of 282 cars and 866 passengers when the former CEO of Austal, Mr. Alan Lerchbackeer recommended a 73 meter craft with less capacity, less expensive, cheaper to operate, and less polluting? He also had concerns about the financial viability, stating that with the current vessel, they will need 400 to 500 passengers per trip to break even. Superferry now estimates [then estimated] they will have average loads of 400 passengers and half the vehicles it is capable or carrying. Why did they design the ferry with roll on/roll off decks so high off the water requiring $40M in dock modifications? Why the fuel capacity of 56,800 gallons just to do inter-island travel?

Is this an intentional design for bankruptcy? Will Lehman and Krekel then purchase the vessels for pennies on the dollar for their intended use? [...] Many people are questioning the financial viability of the Superferry operation. Will it end up in bankruptcy with the taxpayers holding the bag for nearly $200M? Do you think these people are the least bit interested in the culture or environment of Kauai?

5. With the Senate Bill #1276 headed for the House, it may die there, or even if it passes the House in it’s watered down version, our wonderful Governor will have final say with a veto, BUT I am sure the over $25,000 in contributions to her last political campaign by individuals connected with Superferry will not influence her decisions about the bill passing, which has been backed by Maui, Hawaii Island, and Kauai County Councils, and the State Senate. If Senate Bill #1276 would pass the house without being killed by one single individual, House Rep. Joseph Souki, Governor Lingle’s veto would be going against every single political body in the State of Hawaii, except Oahu Council.

There is one step left, and it is probably the only thing Superferry will understand, that is legal action on all the errors they have committed over the last four years. They say that has already been attempted and they won, but they leave out the fact that one case is still pending at the State Supreme Court, and to this date, no court has heard arguments about the Endangered Species Act or the Marine Mammals Act, and there are legal entities waiting to see what happens with SB1276. As Yogi Berra said, 'It ain’t over till it’s over.'"

Richard Hoeppner, July 7, 2007. [For those of you who do not know, Rich is a retired police chief, not exactly the profile of a radical.]

OK, I'll try to find more on the liferafts.

Aloha, Brad

1 comment:

MauiBrad said...

From: Paul Massey
Sent: Sat 3/29/08 3:56 PM
To: Mauibrad

another aspect of the passenger safety issue is adequate exits. I spoke with a Coast Guard certified captain who toured the boat before they went into service and thought there is a problem with that.