Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rental Car Questions

Larry has a good post regarding the rental cars at

Be sure to read down to the bottom where he mentions the drop-off charge and concession fee. Oh, s**t, that's steep.

Andy Parx did an awesome comment to Larry's above post:

"The SF isn’t transporting these rental cars for free. No one has pointed out how you’d have to be an imbecile - or so rich you don’t care - to pay the fare for the ferry to transport your rental car when you can return one as you get on and pick up another as you get off...If the rental companies were doing anything - other than allowing it - they would let you keep the same contract and return and pick up cars on either end..." posted by Andy Parx

Aloha, Brad

Friday, May 30, 2008

China 1989: The Tank Man

Well, this is interesting. To see these videos, you may have to cut and paste the youtube addresses into your browser or go to and search for the titles below:


The Tank Man 1/8

The Tank Man 2/8

The Tank Man 3/8

The Tank Man 4/8

The Tank Man 5/8

The Tank Man 6/8

The Tank Man 7/8

The Tank Man 8/8

Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HI Superferry: 'Record Loads'

Sorry, this came out yesterday. I did the calcs yesterday, but was too busy to get it up here. Wish somebody else could/would do this. Anyway, here it is:

HSF numbers released for May 23-26 were:

5500 people and 1500 vehicles transported and their est. for the month of May
21000 people and 5800 vehicles.

First, that means nearly a quarter of all of their traffic for May happened during the 4 days of the Memorial Day weekend.

Second, there were 14 one-way trips over that weekend, so they averaged:
393 people per one-way trip and
107 vehicles per one-way which is
Enough to cover their fuel costs for those 4 days, but NOT the rest of their expenses.
This is noticeably a higher ratio of people to cars than HSF has been averaging...onboard live blogging pictures on the web over the Memorial Day weekend indicated increased foreign visitor group travel onboard which would account for the blip of passengers and not so much cars over the weekend.

Third, they will have had 88 one-way trips for the month of May, so they would average:
239 people per one-way trip and
66 vehicles per one-way which is
NOT Enough on average to cover just their fuel costs for the month of May.
Furthermore, those trip averages for the Month of May are actually lower than the trip averages they were having in the latter part of April.

Aloha, Brad

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How high can oil prices go? Renewables, etc.

A few days ago I went to an Apollo Kauai meeting with Andrea Brower and her mom hearing from local KIUC utility officials on the reality of prospective hydro energy projects on Kauai. There were about 50 people in attendance, a number of them I recognized from my pet issue. A lot of interesting things were covered.

The biggest contractual hurdle is something called "avoided cost pricing" which is basically the cost of using diesel fuel (as opposed to "open-book cost-plus pricing"), thus realizing no cost benefit from what otherwise should be lower cost renewable energy. State Rep. Mina Morita in attendance seemed to indicate that the State Legislature would work on "de-coupling" the older standard of pricing here that works against renewable energy projects.

The meeting also mentioned that micro-projects and net-metering are small scale projects that individuals might pursue, but that the utility feels it has to focus on meeting total community and greater development demands. Energy conservation by the individual user was the main recommendation that the KIUC officials could recommend to the audience.

On a related matter, I was talking last night with another person on Kauai writing a very interesting book. Seperate from the subject matter of that book, the question came up, could I do an analysis on the oil price per barrel at which 'the system breaks down,' particularly trucking/shipping companies and maybe a higher figure for utilities? I would have to look at that for a while to try that analysis. I told my friend that I would guess that Goldman Sachs may have done that analysis. So, I did a Google search and here is a start on what I found from a blog of a few days ago in Britian:
20 May 2008
"Why Planning for $200 Barrel Oil is so Important, or, Why Government is Failing Us in Times of Transition"

"With the oil price looking pretty settled at $126 a barrel having reached as high in recent days as $128, what does the UK Government estimate the future oil price to be? Clearly one would imagine that as the most responsible body in the land, charged with making long term decisions that affect us all, they would have their fingers on the pulse of this one. Unfortunately the official position is as insulting as it is pathetic...

So in other words, when prodded by a Parliamentary question to come up with an overall assumption, months after oil first broke $100 for the first time on January 1st 2008, since when it has not dipped back into double figures, they go for something midway between their central and high scenarios in their White Paper.

Especially as they must have been aware of the recent Goldman Sachs report that came out around the same time which said that the price was going up not down, and that $200 a barrel was not too far off. They also revised their forecast for the second half of 2008 from $107 to $141. At least someone is paying attention...

Strikes me that at this point in time, in terms of our future forecasting, we need to be seriously planning for a $200 a barrel world, and that planning for anything less is criminally negligent. Whether it is a year away or 3 years away, fact is we have left ourselves virtually no time to prepare for it at all. At $200 a barrel, expansions to airports cease to be worth the investment, and one would have to question whether anyone has questioned how viable it is to build new nuclear power plants at that cost (given the high amount of embodied energy in the materials). Indeed, planning for $200 a barrel will lead to the asking of some very hard questions, questions which business as usual will really struggle to answer...

Indeed it is not just Government who need to be planning for the $200 a barrel era. There are plenty of other organisations who develop long term plans that affect us all, principally local authorities, but also a range of others. I mentioned here the other day a talk I gave recently at Hartpury College near Gloucester, at the end of which I sat on a panel with various representatives of the South West Regional Development Agency...

Me, I long for a $200 a barrel world, as much as anything because perhaps when we get there, we will be able to sit down with the people at BERR who write this rubbish, and ask them what they thought they were doing. It should, as we sit beneath a mature walnut tree, with children running through the abundant food gardens behind us and as ripe, full walnuts punctuate the conversation by dropping earthwards and bouncing off our heads, be a most instructive conversation."

Well, that's food for thought. Be sure to click on those Goldman Sachs links. Will try to find if the analysis is available publicly at what high oil prices do things start 'breaking down.'

Aloha, Brad

Friday, May 23, 2008

HI Superferry: PBN and Garden Island News 5/23/08

Kudos to Chad Blair. As far as I know, no other print media source reported on this. It is significant business news.

Also see:

See graphic and full article at:^1640574

Friday, May 23, 2008 Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
"Maui harbor plans pared as ships leave" by Chad Blair

"The departure of two NCL America cruise ships from Hawaii waters this year has led the state to significantly scale back plans for improvements to Kahului Harbor on Maui...

The initial allocation of $345 million for Kahului is now $202 million...

No one is complaining...

With the Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii no longer in operation locally, harbor officials say there is no longer a pressing demand for a new breakwater, cruise terminal and ferry and barge slip on the west side of the harbor basin.

"When NCL made the decision to redeploy two of its three vessels, the need for all of those harbor improvements changed," said Mike Formby, deputy director of harbors for the state Department of Transportation...

Should NCL decide to reverse course and bring back a vessel, or if some of its five foreign-flagged competitors decide to increase their local presence, the state could revisit the Kahului plan. But there has been no indication that will happen any time soon...

Plans for Kahului Harbor's east side, where most commercial activity occurs, remain on schedule. They include a new breakwater, upgrades to Pier 1's fuel line, strengthening of Pier 2B, acquisition of additional property, and paving and fencing of existing property...

The West Harbor area, home to Pier 5, also will receive some improvements. The leveling, paving and fencing of yard space, currently used as a coral stockpile, will allow Matson, Young Brothers and Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines to store autos, cargo and oversized equipment.

Formby and North hope the West Harbor space will relieve congestion on East Harbor facilities, especially with the Superferry adding a second Oahu-Maui run earlier this month.

"It takes up a lot of real estate," North said of the Superferry. "But as far as Matson is concerned, if for some reason there is a space constriction, we can always stack our containers. So, for next three to five years, we can handle a Matson ship and an oil barge at Pier 1."

The scaling back of plans for Kahului Harbor is welcomed by Maui residents who had worried harbor expansion would hamper recreational use.

"We are relieved," said Karen Chun of the advocacy group Save Kahului Harbor. "We are hopeful that [Formby] is restoring common sense and responsiveness to community input in the D.O.T. planning process."

"It's a surprise turn of events, but at least it makes sense," said Irene Bowie, executive director of another advocacy group, Maui Tomorrow. "But the changes don't rule out west side expansion. We are hoping that we can continue to show that paddlers, surfers and fishermen are using this space consistently."

Dick Mayer, a retired Maui Community College economics professor, said consumers will ultimately benefit from the decision to reduce the scope of the project. The $840 million in harbor improvements mostly will be paid through increases in harbor-user fees. "They realized they would not get paid-back funding from cruise ships and that there's uncertainty about the Superferry's future as a revenue source. Which means you have to transfer costs to Young Brothers and oil tankers, and that would be passed on to the general public," Mayer said. "Since harbor funding is statewide, not island by island, that means Oahu people would be paying for a pier and terminal and breakwater that we would not need."

And from The Garden Island News, these clips:
May 23, 2008 - KAUAI News
"Lawmakers update [New] Lihu‘e business group"
by Nathan Eagle - THE GARDEN ISLAND

"Kaua‘i state lawmakers yesterday updated the Lihu‘e Business Association on legislation that could enhance the future vitality of the island’s commercial heart.

Some 40 residents packed Duke’s Canoe Club in Kalapaki for the association’s first annual meeting, which included election of officers and a board of directors. Sen. Gary Hooser, D-7th District, and Rep. James Tokioka, D-15th District, talked about bills that passed in the 2008 session and legislation that fell short...

...Tokioka compared it to the Niumalu community which has been fighting for years for stricter emissions laws so they suffer less from the pollution that drifts through the valley from cruise ships docked at the nearby port. The state Legislature last session deferred a bill proposing a three-year pilot program to determine the level and environmental impact of air pollution caused by bunker-fuel burning in cruise vessels docked or moored at Nawiliwili Harbor. “Frankly, I’m concerned that Norwegian Cruise Lines wasn’t more cooperative,” Hooser said. “Why do we get dirtier standards than California?” NCL, the top cruise line serving Kaua‘i, fought the bill at the state level. The legislation was originally introduced as a ban on large commercial passenger vessels burning bunker fuel containing 1,000 or more parts-per-million of sulfur within a five-mile radius of Nawiliwili Harbor. Similar legislation to restrict what fuels ships can burn at ports is pending in Congress. California has a state law to burn low sulfur fuel. Hooser said cruise companies at the committee hearing told how ships burn the 0.5 percent fuel required in California and then switch to a dirtier fuel out at sea. He said if NCL is able to sail in and out of California on the higher grade fuel, why not in Hawai‘i? NCL officials have said the cost to convert to this cleaner-burning fuel would be significant, possibly adding thousands of dollars to each voyage and impacting the bottom line...

The lawmakers also answered questions about another controversial passenger vessel, the Hawaii Superferry...Hooser said the company should first establish reliability on its daily runs between O‘ahu and Maui. Then officials should open a dialog with the community...Although Hawaii Superferry has no legal impediments preventing it from servicing Kaua‘ has not sailed to Kaua‘i since August 2007 demonstrations blocked the ship from docking. “There’s a lot of bad blood,” Hooser said. “There were serious errors in judgement.” He noted the company’s failure to disclose all its lobbying expenses and clear attempt to circumvent the state’s environmental laws. Tokioka agreed, saying his concerns over Hawaii Superferry are over the process. He said he has heard from many students on sports teams on Maui who have used the ferry to travel to O‘ahu for events who have reported 'throwing up' because of seasickness."

Well, that about sums it up,
Aloha, Brad

Thursday, May 22, 2008

HI Superferry: Notes from Kauai Eco-Roundtable

Kauai Eco-Roundtable speech notes from 5/20/08‏

Subject: Roundtable notes
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008

1) I'm honored to be here, was inspired by events here on Kauai last August and September, 2007.

2) Last fall I decided to start a research project and evaluation of HSF making use of standard company, industry, and economic try and read beyond the headlines and between the lines of what the likely real situation is on this issue.

3) Was asked to speak today about the economic and business viability of Hawaii Superferry. I have only a few minutes here, so I'll try to be brief, but I will post a more complete version of this on my blog within a few days.

4) First, the events of the broader global economy have much to do with the increasing cost of energy, namely oil-derived energy and fuel, but also the declining value of the U.S. dollar and ballooning U.S. debt., and the increasing economic status and energy consumption of China and India. Quoting the AP, the increasing global demand for oil is being driven by China and India, 'which guarantee a market into the long term.'

5) Crude oil prices have more than doubled in the past year, from $62.50 a barrel in May 2007 to $100 a barrel in February 2008 to $125-$126 late last week, and $129 today. Most transportation companies are hoping that this is just a speculative run-up and that prices will subside some and soon. But, oil experts and Wall Street industry analysts have voiced opinion in the media over the past few weeks that they expect oil prices to stay in the $100 to $150 per barrel for the rest of this year.

6) Here in Hawaii transportation companies, including Aloha and ATA, are having terminal difficulty with these escalating oil/fuel prices. In fact, all transportation companies would be having difficulty with this. As a result the state has lost 10% to 15% of the flight capacity in and out of the state and projections from the Council on Revenues and almost all economic research bureaus within the state have changed their forecasts within the past few months to little or no growth in the state's economy for the next year or two.

7) Regarding the Superferry, from Pacific Business News last year, "Whether Hawaii Superferry will be profitable is something that concerns Alan Lerchbacker, the former CEO of Austal USA, which built the ferry. 'I just worry about them getting enough business to cover costs because of the sheer size of it,' said Lerchbacker. Lerchbacker said he suggested a 72-meter vessel only to see the company order the 100-meter model. 'For a smoother ride on the ocean, that ferry will have to go over 35 knots, and it costs a lot of money on fuel to go that fast,' he said."

8) Late last year HSF disclosed their operating costs were $650,000 per week, with the increase in marine diesel oil (MDO) fuel cost to over $1000 per metric ton or over $3.75/gal* for MDO at the retail level, their weekly costs since last fall have increased at least an additional $105,000 per week due to fuel alone. That means the 1/4 ridership/vehicle capacity they needed before just to cover fuel costs has increased now to about 1/3 capacity just to cover fuel costs. HSF has been running recently at loads of 1/4 to 1/3 capacity for the early runs and a 1/4 or less for the evening runs. A little more than their second and third quarters of ridership are needed to cover the rest of their expenses, leaving less than the top quarter of full capacity to net income, at current prices. If HSF doubled their current prices per person from $39 to $80 and per vehicle from $55 to $110, their ridership breakeven levels would be half what they are now, but demand would likely drop off for their services.

9) HSF competitors for transporting people interisland are Hawaiian, Island Air, and Go Airlines (with parent co. Mesa expecting financing difficulties soon). All are currently charging about $100 to $125 and more for one-way tickets actually available online. HSF is currently charging 1/3 of that. HSF's competitor for transporting cars interisland is Young Brothers. YB currently charges about $250 to move a car interisland. HSF currently charges 1/4 of that. Of those two the one with the greatest disparity and the greatest market potential for HSF is the fast movement of cars interisland.

10) HSF burns about 6000 gallons of marine diesel oil fuel one-way from Oahu to Kauai in 3 hours. I spoke with Hawaiian pilots yesterday and they burned 400 gallons of jet fuel (about the same price as MDO, 3.60 to 3.80 per gallon*) from Oahu to Kauai in 30 to 35 minutes, transporting 123 people. That's 1/15th or 6.5% of the fuel that HSF requires to do the same route. If you multiply 15 times the 123 people, Hawaiian transports 1845 people burning the same amount of fuel cost that it takes for HSF to transport a maximum of about 866 people. Hawaiian Air is at least twice as efficient at moving people interisland as is HSF.

11) Regarding this vessel's cost ineffectiveness at these route distances. With the 4 diesel jet engines and the amount of fuel they burn, the Alakai and other vessels like it around the world in the past have been cost effective on one-way routes of 1 to 2 hours or distances of 30 to 75 miles per revenue generating load. Distances further than that with the same revenue generating load are cost ineffective. HSF's planned one-way route distances in Hawaii are about 105 to 160 miles, with the 3rd and 4th hours of fuel expense under the same revenue generating load being cost ineffective.

12) HSF also appears to have close working relationships with Roberts Hawaii, Loves, Fedex, Commodity Freight Forwarders (CFF), Expediters and recently increasing military and civil service personnel on vacation from Oahu bases. Individual commercial businesses (not making use of CFF) from Maui (or an outer island) to Oahu would have to stay overnight. Currently, only businesses from Oahu to Maui can return later the same day. Hertz, Alamo/National, Dollar, and Thrifty all allow their cars to be transported on HSF. HSF does not have a fly-drive arrangement with Hawaiian Air, verified with HSF's reservations department, referred to by CEO Fargo in PBN.

13) In recap, HSF is unlikely to ever be profitable as a commercial business only. Furthermore, it is only marginally competitive moving people interisland. HSF's most noticeable market potential is in rapid transport of vehicles interisland, quite likely at the expense of Young Brothers. Little to no road improvements on islands such as Kauai do not appear to be ready to receive that kind of influx. HSF may have an uptick in ridership in June, July, and August, but will likely have a drop off in Fall 2008 and problems again with high surf in Winter 2008-9. In the meantime HSF investors appear to be willing to accept operating losses at current levels provided progress continues on other related investments.

*All fuel prices have been increasing on a weekly if not daily basis recently, so the above calculations include fuel prices that are now conservative yet still accurately portray the situation.

Aloha, Brad

Sunday, May 18, 2008

HI Superferry: Couple of neat Blogs on Kauai

Taking a break from here for a few days. Will leave you with a couple of neat blogs I saw recently:

Check out his May 15, 2008, post on Kauai, Hawaii.


Will be back here in a few days,
Aloha, Brad

HI Superferry: Historical Context...SeaFlite Fairyland

"SeaFlite Fairyland"‏

HSF did not just fall out of the sky. Here you go, some historical context. Notice some of the same problems repeating?

Aloha, Brad

HI Superferry: Congress Budget 2 LCS and 1 JHSV

From a couple of good reports on this:

First, from
"House Armed Services panel approves $712 billion defense package"
By Otto Kreisher and Andy Leonatti CongressDaily May 15, 2008

"...The full panel endorsed without opposition the Seapower Subcommittee's proposal to provide full or partial funding for four ships in addition to the Virginia class attack submarine, one Joint High Speed Vessel, and two T-AKE supply ships that were requested....It also approved procurement of two more of the troubled Littoral Combat Ships, but reduced the requested funding..."

Second, a more complete blog report at:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The House Funds a Bigger Fleet
"The developments in the House today are in stark contrast to the business as usual posture of the Senate earlier this month, and we believe today was a good day for the Navy. The Administrations FY 2009 budget sent to the House and Senate called for 7 new ships: 1 DDG-1000, 1 SSN, 2 LCS, 1 JHSV, and 2 T-AKEs. Today, the House tinkered with that plan a bit...

...What also isn't said is that the House funded 2 Littoral Combat Ships, increased the cost cap above $460 million, but also did not fully fund both ships relying on some left over supply from LCS-3 and LCS-4 which were canceled. Someone smarter and more informed than I will have to explain the LCS story in better detail, because it looks like some Congressional math at work. Regardless, the House version of the shipbuilding budget is now 2 SSN, 2 LCS, 1 JHSV, 1 LPD-17, and 4 T-AKEs, 10 ships, as predicted by Murtha..." Posted by Galrahn

Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

HI Superferry: Sorry, ignored and then missed this one

I heard something about this from Swan Cleveland via Katy Rose, but did not follow-up on it at the time. Recently was looking at what the blogger Springboard has been doing and found that what Swan was passing on had merit. So here it is:

Thursday, May 1, 2008
LCS-2 Update: The Damn Thing Leaks!
"Did you wonder why the LCS-2's bow was sitting so far out of the water? Well, Aviation week might have an answer:
'The launch was a three-day process, during which the LCS 2 was rolled from the construction building on rails to the deck of a floating dry dock and then floated from there. Several small leaks in the ship, discovered while ballasting the dry dock, were sealed before the ship was moved downriver to Bender’s basin.'

If I could add tone to my writing here, I'd be using that very strained voice one uses after catching your child scribbling on a priceless work of art. You know, that tone calculated to impart upon the offender an immediate sense of impending doom."

And some comments to the above post:

Anonymous said...
"Seems that Colton reported the issue with the leaks were 'a number of hull cracks.' Makes me go, hmmmm, since the Hawaii superferry had an issue with 'not being properly placed on blocks' when she had to go to the yard to repair the storm damage she recently sustained. How fragile are these hulls...?? And I've got real heartburn when I see this:
'In the case of one ship the Navy is confident it wants — the aluminum-hulled trimaran that General Dynamics and shipbuilder Austal are offering as LCS 2 — Roughead said he remains a believer in the ship’s novel design and materials, even after yard problems and problems with an earlier civilian variant on the design.The Navy acknowledged in February that some transverse support beams under the LCS 2’s flight deck had bowed in the shipyard, and that the Navy and Austal would review the cost and possible delays involved with repairs. And another aluminum trimaran built by Austal, the Hawaii Superferry, stopped service until April 22 and is laid up in a shipyard with hull cracks near its auxiliary rudders, the Honolulu Advertiser reported. Roughead said he didn’t think it was clear yet what had caused the Superferry to stop service, nor that it portended any problems for the Navy’s purchase. 'I’ve heard it’s everything from discomfort caused by the weather to the fact that they’ve had some mechanical glitches, I don’t have the details on it. I do believe in what I’ve seen in LCS 2, a ship that I think a very exciting design for the Navy, and I’m anxious to get it to sea and put it through its paces.'
Another example of unchecked -Reality Checks like the old General Board provided- decisions rolling downhill from On High with potentially ever worsening consequences....sid"
May 2, 2008 11:14 AM

Anonymous said...
"And I had forgetten about previously reported load bearing issues...sid"
May 3, 2008 6:23 AM

Check those links. Those dudes are into it. It's interesting stuff.
Aloha, Brad

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kamehameha and the Kauai Channel

From: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Why did Kamehameha have trouble with the Kauai Channel?
Question: Why exactly did Kamehameha have difficulty crossing the Kauai Channel with a large party and not have that same problem with the Kaiwi Channel, Pailolo Channel nor the Alenuihāhā Channel?

It is a two part answer. The first part is obvious, the second part less so.

First, the Kauai Channel is 2 to 3 times and more the distance of the other channels. Most of the crossing is exposed to the wind and wave elements and not blocked by any land as with some of the other interisland routes. If one can imagine the rough, uncomfortable crossings in either the Kaiwi or Pailolo, multiply that duration by 3 times longer.

Second, the more interesting reason is the following:

A crossing of Kaiwi Channel, Pailolo Channel or the Alenuihāhā Channel can be done at an angle either into or with the wind and waves. A Kauai Channel crossing cannot be done either into or with the normal tradewide. It has to be perpendicular to the prevailing tradewide. For a craft on the surface of the water, pitch and yaw are more easily dealt with as opposed to roll, thus the term 'huli." Going perpendicular to strong wind and waves for at least 70 miles and 2 hours or longer is going to create a lot of roll opportunities. Things that move fast on the surface of the water will experience more unpredictable movement in the Kauai Channel relative to the other channels. This is why the Kauai Channel is different from the other channels beyond the greater distance involved.

Aloha, Brad

HI Superferry: A few recent interesting reports

Just three things to mention today:

1) First, want to compliment the Coast Guard on the following. It caught my attention because of the wind and wave conditions that were reported. I would think paddlers would consult NOAA's Channel forecasts before going out. NOAA's forecasts seem quite accurate even 4 and 5 days out.

Posted on: Sunday, May 11, 2008
"Coast Guard rescues 6 paddlers off Maui"
By Mike Leidemann Advertiser Staff Writer

"Six people were rescued early yesterday morning after their outrigger canoe overturned in the Alenuihaha Channel 14 miles south of Maui, the Coast Guard said...No one was injured, and the Coast Guard praised the paddlers for doing things that made the rescue easier...Coast Guard officials said they received a distress call from the paddlers' hand-held VHF radio at about 3:15 a.m...When the rescue helicopter arrived on scene, a rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kris Grimm, was lowered into the water and helped each paddler into a rescue basket...Seas in the area were 7 feet [seems a little bit low to me] and winds were 25 knots at the time of the rescue, the Coast Guard said. A life raft was attached to the partially submerged canoe so it could be retrieved later, the Coast Guard said."

2) Recently reported events in Congress related to these matters:
May 9, 2008
"House panel puts brakes on..."
"Back in March, Gene Taylor (D.Miss), Chairman of the House Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, called the Navy's future shipbuilding plan "pure fantasy." Now, as part of its effort to get Navy shipbuilding on track to attain its 313 ship target, the subcommittee is trying to put the brakes on...
In its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (H.R. 5658)...
"This subcommittee has tried to work closely with the Navy leadership over the years to develop a workable strategy to restore the size of our fleet," said Chairman Gene Taylor (D. Miss.) in his opening statement at the markup session. "Unfortunately, the Department of Defense has not budgeted the required funds for Navy shipbuilding and continues to submit budget requests which reduce, not grow, the size of the fleet. The solution offered, every year, is that the solution will be delayed to future years. "
"I do not believe the plan to achieve a 313 ship fleet is achievable in its current form," continued Chairman Taylor, I am convinced that the only path to a 313 ship fleet is to build ships of a proven design and build them in sufficient numbers to realize shipyard efficiency. Today's mark is the first step toward that goal. The mark redirects Navy efforts for fiscal year 2009 and lays the framework for continued shipbuilding efforts in following years."
...Overall, for ship procurement the mark authorizes the construction of one Virginia Class Submarine, two Littoral Combat Ships, one Joint High Speed Vessel...
Maritime Provisions-- the mark includes authorization of funds for the operation and activities of the U.S. Maritime Administration, $178 million for the Maritime Security Fleet Program, $25 million in assistance to small shipyards, and $30 million for the Title XI Maritime Loan Guarantee Program."

3) Lastly, from Austal's own press release:
"Austal USA Update
The launch of INDEPENDENCE (LCS 2) closely follows the recent delivery of the first Hawaii Superferry vessel. A 107 metre vehicle and passenger carrying aluminium catamaran, Hawaii Superferry is Austal USA’s largest construction project to date and is the largest high speed aluminium catamaran built in the USA. A second identical ferry is currently under construction and is scheduled for launch in September 2008.
The recent purchase of an adjacent 100 acres of land and the award of US $33.7 million in funding from the US Navy for shipyard development will see Austal USA commence construction of a Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF) in 2008...
As the prime contractor, and the only shipyard with a track record of building large (over 100 metres in length) high speed aluminium vessels in the USA, Austal is confident of its ability to deliver a low risk JHSV platform to the US Navy and Army..."

Aloha, Brad

Sunday, May 11, 2008

HI Superferry: Reviewing a Simple Statisticians Trick

One way to compare numbers to show an increase is to quote first for a day, then 4 days, and then 7 days or a week. For example when daily numbers are only slightly increasing, first quote the following:

From PBN: "Over the past Friday through Monday we moved 2,000 passengers and 540 cars and trucks." [That is an average of 250 pass. and 68 vehicles per one way.]

Then, the next numbers released to the media, make them for 7 days, or a week:

From Maui News: "The company did not release specific numbers for Friday's sailings, but said more than 4,600 passengers were booked through the week." [That is an average of 209 passengers and an estimated avg. of 69 (low) 84 (mid) 105 (high) vehicles per one way.]

However you slice and dice it, these numbers on average still don't even cover fuel costs, and they show only inconsistent, slightly increased real numbers.

A quick thumbnail comparison for everybody. The company needs to run a little more than the first quarter capacity of ridership and vehicles just to cover fuel costs. By its publicly disclosed expenses, assuming those were accurate, it needs the second and third quarters of capacity in ridership and vehicles to cover the rest of its expenses. That leaves just the last quarter of full capacity ridership for this vessel to actually make money and be a long-term, viable 'going concern.' They are a long way from that, and quite frankly given constraints built into this thing, I don't see how they'll ever get to it.

If Fargo can actually get this and the second vessel up to 3/4 capacity ridership within the next 1 to 2 years, should the company last that long, then he and Lehman might qualify for some sort of Global Businessmen of the Year award.

Aloha, Brad

Friday, May 9, 2008

HI Superferry: Review of past few days

1) Funny comment from:

"Anonymous said...
The Superferry called my house yesterday. It went like this:
Superferry: Eh, what, you guys still pissed off?
Me: Uh, no, why?
SF: We like come Kauai.
Me: Hah? Why, nobody going ride your boat and get all sick. Waste time.
SF: No, no, no, try watch our commercials. Smooth the ride.
Me: Ummm, nah, but let me ask around. Eh, anybody like ride the Superferry?
SF: What they said?
Me: Yeah, get three, four guys might ride 'em. Still five bucks, yeah?
SF: (click)
Me: Hello? Hello?"

2) Interesting article yesterday by Christie Wilson of the Honolulu Advertiser:
"Ferry must pay for tugboat; DOT says company must assume cost of second Maui sailing"
By Christie Wilson, May 8, 2008:

"The state Department of Transportation has told Hawaii Superferry it must pay for evening tugboat services at Kahului Harbor needed to accommodate the company's expanded Maui service..."We have notified HSF that they are responsible for the costs associated with the second Maui call," Harbors Division chief Michael Formby said yesterday. "We have not received HSF's position on our decision as of this date."...The DOT also has not conceded that it is responsible for any tugboat costs incurred since January...Despite the change in seasons, occasional north[east] swells continue to roll into the harbor..."

"The afternoon sailings also will allow commercial customers to return the same day, something they can't do now with a single daily roundtrip..."

That is so only for Oahu commercial customers who can go to Maui and back to Oahu, 8 hours later in the same day. But, Maui commercial customers not making use of an intermediary have less than a one hour window, otherwise they have to stay overnight on Oahu and return the next day. Spoke with a knowledgeable person who said this is an opportunity for Oahu businesses to expand their market on Maui, and not so easily vise-a-versa.

"The second sailing will mean additional hours for some of Superferry's port workers, and the company has hired 20 additional employees, officials said..."

HSF had a classified in the Maui News a few weeks ago for positions paying $13/hr. Well, that's more than the $12/hour that Austal pays some welders. A search on the net reveals that Austal pays welders from $8 to $18/hour. First class welders elsewhere in their industry are paid closer to $30/hour.

"During the two promotional periods, Superferry is waiving its fuel surcharge, which was listed yesterday on the company Web site at 49.8 percent."

By HSF's original fuel surcharge disclosures, a 2% fare increase for each 10% rise in the MDO metric ton price rise above $300, the surcharge would be as high as a 66% increase if it were being charged.

"In a March 14 letter notifying the Public Utilities Commission of the summer fares, the company it was extending promotional pricing through September to "gain public acceptance, regardless of any other controversy." The discounted fares are necessary to offset "negative publicity" generated by environmental lawsuits, the Kaua'i protests, and cancellation of voyages due to rough seas and repairs, the letter said."

3) Also, good quote from Senator Hooser in an article by Rob Perez of the Honolulu Advertiser: "Superferry awaits signal from Kauai; community can decide for itself if it wants service, new CEO says" By Rob Perez, May 7, 2008:

"...At least one Kaua'i politician suggested that the company is still unwelcomed by many people on that island. Sen. Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua'i, Ni'ihau), said the percentage of Kaua'i residents opposed to the Superferry probably hasn't changed much and likely won't change much until the company shows it is reliable and forthright with the community. 'The Hawaii Superferry needs to prove itself in terms of reliability, service and community commitment first, and they haven't done that on Maui,' Hooser said. 'It's proven to be unreliable.' Hooser also said he was unaware of the Superferry doing any significant outreach to community groups on Kaua'i over the past few months..."

"SHAKEDOWN PERIOD ENDS...Fargo said the carrier had gone through an expected shakedown period..."

Umm, others have pointed out this Freudian slip. I think that is a "shaking out" period. "Shakedown" implies something else.

4) There were also a bunch of unscientific polls run in the past few days. Nevertheless, they all show negative support for HSF on Kauai and Maui. I may post more on them, if I get time.

Aloha, Brad

HI Superferry: Counts for Both Runs for 5/9/08

Vessel scheduled to arrive at 9:30am. Vessel came in at 9:37am, was offloading by 9:49am.

Vessel would have encountered 11 ft wind waves in Kaiwi or 12 ft wind waves in Pailolo this morning.

Operations appear to have changed substantially. Offloading was fast and in two lanes, therefore only a close estimate count could be taken.

Offloading: est. 120 vehicles, est. 200 to 240 people, and 8 motorcycles. Vehicles offloaded in two stages, indicating both decks were used. The vehicle count includes 2 large semis with large trailers, 1 other small container truck, 3 other large commercial trucks including at least 1 refrigerated truck, 1 FedEx truck, and 1 truck with a horse trailer. Did not notice indication of significant Roberts activity today, a rough day in the channels. Fuel costs were likely covered with this run from Oahu.

Onloading: est. 75 vehicles, est. 150 people, and 2 motorcycles. Vehicles onloading appeared to be also using both decks, probably to make room for the large trucks on the bottom deck loading last. The vehicle count includes 2 large semis with large trailers, 3 other large commercial trucks including at least 1 refrigerated truck, 1 FedEx truck, and 1 tow truck towing a car onboard. Fuel costs alone were NOT likely covered with this run from Maui to Oahu.

Spoke with Hawaiian "Maka'ala" John at harbor again this morning. He pointed out all of the algae coming ashore most days now. He said the algae used to wash ashore only infrequently. He said he thinks it's related to the last report he gave.
Evening run: Came in early a little before 6:00pm because it left Honolulu early before 3:00pm.

Report is from long-time friend onboard the vessel, former senior hotel manager.

Offloading: est. 60 vehicles, est. 120 people. No commercial vehicles seen by passenger. No indication of group 'overnighter' travel company. Passenger reports crossing the channel was rough and some passengers did get seasick.

For Onloading figures relying upon a Maui Tomorrow rep. and a reporter she spoke with plus a few more I counted later onloading.

Onloading: est. less than 60 vehicles. People not counted. No commercial vehicles seen.

Neither leg of evening run covered even fuel costs.

MPD told the Maui Tomorrow rep. (they had noticed a lot of DoD base stickers on the cars coming from Oahu earlier today and in prior days) that it looked to them like many military or civil service personnel from Oahu taking the ferry for a few days vacation. Makes sense given new leadership.

Aloha, Brad

Thursday, May 8, 2008

HI Superferry: Highlighted MARAD Commitment Letter to HSF

This will be some analysis and comments on the U.S. Maritime Administration 15 page Letter of Commitment to HSF dated January 24, 2005, that appeared in the Hawaii State Auditor's report as Appendix A starting on page 49 of that online .pdf file. This letter generally states the performance requirements that MARAD expects for the loan guarantee on the first two HSF vessels. In particular, the financial and marketing performance requirements are what we will highlight. There likely would have been additional binding agreements at Closing referred to in the letter. There are handwritten notes on the letter that seem to indicate that Closing took place on 6/30/05, thereby committing MARAD, HSF, and the State.

If you are in a hurry, just scroll through and read the red and blue highlights.

The letter starts:

"On January 21, 2005, the Maritime Administrator with respect to the application dated June 4, 2004, as amended, from Hawaii Superferry, Inc. (HSF) for a guarantee of obligations pursuant to Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, as amended (the Act), for construction and mortgage period financing of two 105 meter high speed roll-on roll-off passenger and vehicle ferries (Vessels), took the following actions subject to the conditions contained herein..."

And provisions in the letter:

"VII. Noted that HSF and the State of Hawaii (the State) have entered into a letter of intent dated December 9, 2004 (LOI) which outlines the general terms to be included in an agreement between HSF and the State regarding the port and infrastructure facilities to be utilized by the Vessels. MARAD noted that the LOI does not represent the final agreement between HSF and the State and that the terms and conditions to the final agreement are still to be negotiated. Therefore, MARAD is requiring (as indicated in Recommendation VIII below and other recommendations herein) that the final arrangements between the State and HSF conform to these recommendations and otherwise be in form and substance satisfactory to MARAD prior to the Closing. It is further noted that the LOI is not and should not be construed as creating any obligation on the part of MARAD.

VIII. Required that HSF enter into a final, definitive agreement with the State that sets out (i) the responsibilities of the State and HSF for providing satisfactory shoreside improvements, equipment and terminal facilities at each port in time for HSF to commence operations to such port following the delivery of the relevant Vessel and (ii) the rents, fees, and charges to be imposed by the State on HSF in connection with the use of the shoreside infrastructure provided under the agreement. Such agreement and all related agreements and leases shall be assigned to MARAD for security purposes and afford MARAD the right to enforce the State's promises to HSF. Such agreement(s) shall cover the full term of the financing and be executed prior to the Closing. Required that the form and substance of the agreement(s) be satisfactory to MARAD, and include a provision that MARAD has the right to reassign such lease in the event of default. Additionally, required that HSF submit, prior to the Closing, documents confirming that the State has appropriated the funds required for financing the infrastructure improvements, in form and substance satisfactory to MARAD. Permitted the State to be granted a fully subordinated third mortgage on the Vessels provided these third mortgages are in form and substance satisfactory to MARAD. Required HSF to provide an acceptable legal opinion at or prior to the Closing indicating that HSF and MARAD have the right to enforce the State's promises to HSF under the final, definitive agreement and any related agreements...

[Written note here on the letter that Closing trans. date was 6/30/05]

X. Determined that the Closing shall be preconditioned on MARAD's finding that...(iii) the State has given all the governmental and environmental clearances (including a confirmation that there is no need for an environmental assessment of the port facilities) necessary to commence and complete the shoreside improvements, the leasing of equipment, the construction of the temporary passenger terminal facilities, and the operation of the ferries by HSF...

XI. Noted that a review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970(NEPA) may be required pursuant to 40 C.F.R. Part 1500 and that MARAD will promptly make a decision as to the necessity for such review. If MARAD determines that a NEPA review is necessary, MARAD will promptly initiate such review (including an Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Statement, as appropriate) of the environmental impacts of this project. Any required NEPA review must be concluded prior to the occurrence of any Closing. Unless MARAD is satisfied that compliance with the requirements of NEPA is complete, MARAD is under no obligation to close on the Letter Commitment and may, in its sole discretion, cancel the Letter Commitment. Required that HSF pay for any NEPA review determined by MARAD to be necessary.

XIII. Found, pursuant to Section 1104A(d) of the Act, that the project, with respect to which the guaranteed obligations are to be issued, is economically sound...

XVII. Determined, in accordance with Recommendations XIV and XVI and pursuant to Sections 1101(f) and 1104A(e)(5) of the Act, that the total estimated Actual Cost of the Vessels subject to adjustments as determined by the Associate Administrator for Shipbuilding, is as indicated below:
--------------------------------------Vessel 1---------Vessel 2---------Total
Total Estimated Actual Cost (AC)----$88,446,592----$89,556,473----$178,003,065
Maximum Guarantee at 87.5%------$77,390,768-----$78,361,914----$155,752,682
Guarantee at 78.5% of AC-----------$69,430,575-----$70,301,831----$139,732,406...

XXI. Determined that this Letter Commitment may be terminated at the option of the Secretary, if HSF has not had a guarantee Closing within twelve months of the date of this Letter Commitment...

XXVIII. Required that the subordinated debt agreement between HSF and Austal be inform and substance satisfactory to MARAD and conform to the provisions of 46 CFR298.13(h) in order for MARAD to include the subordinated debt as equity. Permitted Austal to be granted a fully subordinated second mortgage on each Vessel provided these second mortgages are in form and substance satisfactory to MARAD and that HSF and Austal enter into an agreement with MARAD as provided in the third sentence of 46 CFR298.13(h)...

XXXI. Required HSF to enter into a Title XI Reserve Fund and Financial Agreement (RFFA) in form and substance satisfactory to MARAD to: (1) conform to the current regulations, documentation, practices, and policies of MARAD, and (2) be subject to the Section 8 financial requirements and covenants, as modified herein.

XXXII. Required that HSF meet the following qualifying and ongoing financial requirements for purposes of Section 8 and 10 of the RFFA:
1. Working Capital of at least $3.3 million at Closing and following delivery of the second Vessel and $1.00 from the Closing until delivery of the second Vessel.
2. Long-Term Debt to Net Worth ratio no greater than 2.0 to 1.0.
3. Minimum Net Worth of $68 million at Closing and following delivery of the second Vessel, and $58 million from Closing until delivery of the second Vessel (and provided that while the Minimum Net Worth is set at $58 million, HSF will be subject to RFFA provisions.) On an ongoing basis, no default under the Security Agreement.

XXXIII. Required that in determining Net Worth under Section 10 of the RFFA (qualifying requirements), that only the principal amount of $16.1 million of the subordinated debt, as projected to be due on the date the project is to be completed, may be included in Net Worth...

XXXIV. Required that HSF establish a Debt Service Reserve Account (Reserve Account), funded with cash to cover one semi-annual debt service payment on both Vessels, currently estimated at $6.5 million. This amount will be finally determined following the delivery of the second Vessel, when the Final Actual Cost of the Vessels is determined and the terms of the mortgage period financing are set. One-half of this amount will be funded at or prior to the first draw down under the Credit Facility for the first Vessel (anticipated in early summer, 2005), and the remaining balance will be funded at or prior to the earlier of (1) the delivery of the first Vessel or (2) the first drawdown under the Credit Facility for the second Vessel. The Reserve Account funds shall be released to HSF once it demonstrates that operations are generating a positive cashflow, (defined in a manner satisfactory to MARAD), at the following levels, over four consecutive fiscal quarters as evidenced by financial statements submitted in accordance with the Title XI RFFA as follows: one-third of the funds shall be released when HSF demonstrates a positive operating cash flow to senior debt service ratio (Ratio) of 1.3 to 1.0; an additional one-third shall be released when HSF has a 1.40 to 1.0 Ratio; and the final amount shall be released when HSF attains a 1.5 to 1.0 Ratio. The Office of Accounting will insure that the Reserve Account funds are distinguishable from the standard Title XI Reserve Fund account funds, but shall still be MARAD's collateral...

XXXVII. Required that, in accordance with Section 1104A(m) of the Act, HSF provide the Secretary with additional collateral. The additional collateral, as described herein, will be promptly, at the request of MARAD, provided by HSF whenever (1) HSF does not meet any of its Section 8(b) of the RFFA financial requirements or does not file its financial statements within 30 days of the due date for their submission in accordance with RFFA requirements and (2) the value of any funds on deposit in the Reserve Fund and the Reserve Account and the value of the delivered Vessels is less than 110% of the HSF outstanding Title XI debt as indicated by an Appraisal conducted by an appraiser specifically approved by MARAD to conduct the appraisal, who has followed an appraisal methodology approved by MARAD and which appraisal is not more than twelve months old...The additional collateral will be released upon HSF's meeting the financial levels specified in Section 8(b) of the RFFA for four consecutive quarters as evidenced by HSF's financial statements, submitted in accordance with the RFFA...

XXXVIII. Required that HSF submit annual audited financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP and in accordance with Section 9 of the RFFA. Also required that HSF submit unaudited financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP on a quarterly basis, within 45 days of the end of its fiscal first, second and third quarters...

XL. ...HSF will also be required to submit its marketing plan at least one year prior to the delivery of the first Vessel. After submission of the marketing plan, HSF will be required to submit quarterly marketing reports on the status of their marketing efforts. These quarterly status reports are to include (1) a comparison of actual activity to the marketing plan and (2) an explanation for any significant deviations from the plan. Any letter of intent or arrangements for the employment of the Vessels shall be included as part of the marketing efforts section of the quarterly reports. Failure to submit these quarterly reports on a timely basis shall constitute a default under the Security Agreement.

XLI. Required HSF to submit to MARAD a copy of the monthly report sent to the State of Hawaii Harbors Division, containing the following activity statistics for each harbor within fifteen days following the end of each month in which the activities occur:
a. Number of passengers embarking and disembarking, specifically identified by the port of embarkation or disembarkation.
b. Number of automobiles and commercial vehicles, embarking and disembarking, specifically identified by the port of embarkation or disembarkation.
c. Daily vessel movements.
d. Gross receipts.
e. Any additional information deemed necessary by the State for the calculation of any fees and charges.
f. All other reasonable information as determined by the Harbors Division in maintaining statistical data on inter-island ferry operations. Along with the above mentioned monthly report, required HSF to provide MARAD with a copy of the payment calculations due to the Harbors Division for (1) port entry fees (if any), (2) dockage fees, (3) passenger and vehicle fees, and (4) the greater of the applicable percentage of gross receipts or the applicable monthly portion of the minimum annual guarantees. Failure to submit these monthly reports on a timely basis shall constitute a default under the Security Agreement.

XLII. Required that HSF: ... (4) permit MARAD to commission an independent inspection or survey of the Vessels at HSF's expense on an annual basis if HSF is not meeting their financial tests as stipulated in Recommendation XXXII.

XLIII. Required that HSF deliver a certification with respect to each Vessel at each delivery closing and at each disbursement under the Credit Facility with respect to the Vessels, that there have been no occurrences (or a full description of such occurrences, if any) which would adversely or materially affect the condition or progress of construction of the Vessels. If there has been such an occurrence, the Secretary will take such action as deemed appropriate by the Secretary...

L. Determined that MARAD has complied with the Department of Transportation Credit Council guidelines for an external review of HSF's Title XI application and noted that the external review concluded that the project provides an adequate basis for a Title XI Commitment, subject to the implementation of all the conditions herein. Further noted that the financial evaluation of the project by the internal DOT financial advisor reflected concurrence with the conclusions of the external reviewer and concluded that HSF has the financial capacity to undertake the project.

LI. Determined that a full and fair consideration of all the regulatory requirements, including economic soundness and financial requirements applicable to HSF and other applicable parties, and a thorough assessment of the technical, economic and financial aspects of HSF's application has been made. Further determined that MARAD has complied with the due diligence requirements imposed by the DOT Credit Council.

LII. Required HSF to execute a declaration at the Closing as required by 31 U.S.C. 1352 and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-65) disclosing all lobbying activities with respect to this application..."

Will comment later,
Aloha, Brad

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why did Kamehameha have trouble with the Kauai Channel?

Question: Why exactly did Kamehameha have difficulty crossing the Kauai Channel with a large party and not have that same problem with the Kaiwi Channel, Pailolo Channel nor the Alenuihāhā Channel? There is a reason, and it relates to the present day.

At the U.S. Naval Academy they do teach a little about Kamehameha, use of ships and cannon etc., but I doubt they get into why he failed on the Kauai Channel and not the other channels, so I would not expect their graduates to know the answer unless they thought about it for a while. On the other hand, I might expect an accurate verbal explanation to have been passed down generation to generation among Hawaiians, and that they might know the reason, esp. among paddlers.

The story has been told many times. Here are a couple of clips from the net:

"...Captain Cook arrived at Kaua'i and Ni'ihau in January 1778, engaged in a little trading, and sailed north for a year. In January and February, 1779 he returned, this time to Maui and Hawai'i Island, where he landed at Kealakekua Bay. In January of 1779 it was Makahiki, a season of peace; Cook was treated as the Makahiki god Lono. During January a young warrior chief Kamehameha accompanied his local King, Kalaniopu'u, on a visit to Captain Cook's ship. Kamehameha took a look around and saw huge amounts of a very rare commodity -- metal. Later he saw guns and the ship's cannons being fired and killing substantial numbers of natives during disputes. Guns and cannons had never been seen before in Hawai'i. Kamehameha envisioned how he could use them as weapons of mass destruction against his enemies who possessed only clubs and wooden spears. As the years went by, two trends intersected: traders and military vessels made port calls, arriving from England, Russia, and France; and Kamehameha became a more powerful chief. He made friends with visiting ship captains, merchants, naval officers, and diplomats. He was successful in acquiring knives, guns, a cannon, and an oceangoing ship. Kamehameha kidnapped two British sailors Isaac Davis and John Young during a dispute. But as time went by they 'went native,' staying on voluntarily, becoming important military advisers, and teaching Kamehameha how to use his new weapons most effectively... Before 1810 Kamehameha had conquered all the islands except Kaua'i and Ni'ihau. He had tried twice to launch an invasion of Kaua'i from O'ahu, but both attempts had failed: one because of a storm and one because a devastating illness incapacitated his men..."

And another quote from the net:

"By 1795, Kamehameha was the undisputed king of all the Hawaiian Islands except Kauai. Determined to take over this last island, he launched war canoes from Oahu, but rough seas forced him to turn back. Several years later and with 800 more canoes, he attempted another attack-only this time from the Big Island. The planned raid never took place as he ended up in Maui instead. From there, he attempted to peacefully negotiate with Kauai's chief, Kaumauli'i. Words didn't work so Kamehameha returned to Oahu with his men, fully intending to invade Kauai, but before he could, an unexpected outbreak of what was probably typhoid fever or cholera swept through the ranks killing many of his followers. The kahunas believed this epidemic was an evil sign and advised the king against attacking Kauai. Instead, Kamehameha offered his protection to the island and the chief agreed to act as its tributary ruler. Their agreement lasted until Kaumauli'i's death when Kauai finally became part of the Kamehameha kingdom."

OK, why exactly did he fail on the Kauai Channel and not the others?

Aloha, Brad

HI Superferry: Onboard Report for 5/5/08

A long-time friend rode the ferry from Maui to Oahu on 5/5/08. He was suppose to take my camera and provide a detailed report, but ran into some difficulties of his own and so could only provide a general report with no pics.

First, I was on the other side of the island, but I talked to him on the cell as he was getting on and checked the forecasted conditions which were wind of 15 kn and waves of 5 ft for Beaufort 4, BOM 2 - Relatively Calm, Less than Likely Seasickness. I called him later when they would have been finishing the Kaiwi channel, and he reported the forecast was correct, almost nobody got seasick. He considered it a nice ride under those circumstances.

Second, the 'agent' did not do an exact count, but he repeated a good estimate. He thought there were more than 100 people, but less than 200. He also thought there were less than 60 vehicles. He only noticed one commercial name, FedEx, with one of their vehicles going to Oahu. He said there were 3 or 4 large commercial vehicles.

These observations do not show a substantial increase in either private or commercial ridership, even with Aloha Air Cargo's disruptions last week. There were articles last week and even today in one of the newspapers speculating on the cargo opportunities, but so far it appears only 3 or 4 companies including one intermediate freight forwarder have made use of this. Meanwhile it appears Aloha Air Cargo will be going strong.

My friend who has been a high level hotel manager before he retired said he did want to say that the employees did show much aloha and overall his was a good experience given the low wind and calm seas yesterday. I asked him if any executive came around to greet the passengers while under transit and he said, "No, no big shot executives were seen."

Also, got the following report today from another "asset," on Molokai, the same source that filmed the video on youtube that Austal references in a press release:

"Hi Brad: Looks like HSF is routing daily now up the channel between Molokai and Lanai instead of going Northshore.--George"

Somebody else tells me they are not in their legally mandated whale season anymore. Although, with no north swell, it is hard to see any 'comfort' reason for taking the south route. The south route is still more shallow and there are still other mammals other than just Humpback whales. Was wondering if the south route may be slightly shorter than the north route?

Aloha, Brad

Unacceptably Bad Official Behavior on Kauai

Do you all realize the whole world was watching you for a couple days late last August 2007? Do you really expect to use the following kinds of tactics and equipment on the free people of Kauai? The world will be watching. It would become the worst PR the "Aloha State" has shown the world in many years.


"Don’t Busta Move Dayne!"
by Juan Wilson on 5 May 2008

"On Wednesday, April 30th an anti-GMO meeting was held in Hanapepe and the United Church for Christ. Among the sixty or so people attending were Richard Hoeppner, of People for the Preservation of Kauai, and Dayne Aipoalani, of the Kingdom of Atooi. Dayne was with his wife Toni and twenty month old daughter Alana.

Dayne and Richard have known each other and worked together. Richard is a retired police detective and Dayne wanted to have the Kingdom of Atooi marshals get some formal police training, especially in conflict resolution, and mediation.

The two also have worked against the Superferry coming to Kauai and against Syngenta spraying herbicides next to Waimea Canyon Middle School. Dayne and Toni had become alarmed because neighborhood children had become sick and even one of their own had become ill after Syngenta spraying.

The anti-GMO meeting broke up about nine p.m. The Dayne and the family got in their truck and headed to the parking lot exit to get on the highway going west and home to Kekaha. When he got to the stop sign at the highway Dayne noticed a darkened police cruiser parked next to Hanapepe Park turn on its lights and pull up to the stop sign opposite him.

Suspecting something, Dayne did not pull out onto the highway, but waited for the police car to move first. It didn’t. Fifteen seconds went by. Suddenly the cop car turned right onto the highway heading west. Dayne followed him.

As Dayne pulled away he noticed two vehicles in the parking lot turn on their lights. A SUV and a sedan. They got onto the highway behind him. At this time Rich Hoeppner was preparing to leave the church too. Rich drove east towards Kalaheo.

As Dayne continued west there was little traffic as he came to Moi Street. But there another police cruiser was parked. It fell into line behind him and the two unmarked vehicles. In less than a minute Dayne was passing the National Guard facility on the makai side of the highway. Three police cruisers joined the parade.

The police cruisers all at once turned on their flashers and in front of Salt Pond Store pulled Dayne over and boxed him in. Police swarmed Dayne’s truck. From the unmarked SUV four SWAT police emerged in camo and vests. They carried gas canisters and other special equipment.

The police team was lead by police officers Steve Sueoka and Detective Hank Barriga. Dayne knew he was in trouble because of Sueoka’s role in the August 2007 Superferry demonstrations. In December of last year KPD Chief Darryl Perry recognized Sueoka for his exceptional assistance of the United States Coast Guard during that time.

After Dayne’s car was surrounded by the police and SWAT team there was a lot of yelling. Sueoka said; “You are under arrest!”

Dayne said; “What for? What did I do? Wait a minute.”

Dayne was asked and refused to leave his truck. He got on his cell phone and called friends for help.

Richard Hoeppner got a call as he was passing Kalaheo. He turned the car around and headed for Salt Pond Store.

Sueoka continued; “We have a warrant.”

Dayne answered, "I’m not getting out of the car until I know what’s going on."

Sueoka showed Dayne the warrant. As it turned out the warrant the police were carrying was for failure to show up at a plea hearing on the charge of impersonating an officer. During the August Suerferry demonstrations Dayne carried a badge identifying himself as an officer of the Kingdom of Atooi. He never claimed to be a KPD policeman.

The warrant regarding the plea hearing was not applicable because Dayne had demonstrated to the court that he as at the hospital emergency room at the time of the hearing. The court had excused him without correcting the warrant paperwork.

This came out in the exchange between Sueoka and Dayne. Sueoka said that if Dayne had paperwork to prove his excuse on him there would be no arrest.

Dayne did not have the documents in the car. Referring to all the men and material used in the arrest proceeding Dayne countered, “Why didn’t you just call me on my phone to come in and take care of this matter?” Pointing out that Dayne’s cellphone number was prominently written on the warrant.

Suekoa had had enough, “We have a warrant for you! We have to execute our order!”

By this time Rich Hoeppner had made the last leg of his way to Salt Pond Store on foot. The police had closed the main highway. Some of Dayne’s people from the Kingdom of Atooi were arriving to witness the scene. More police arrived. Toni thought there might be as many as thirty policemen then.

Police were breaking up any groups of passerby greater than three. No public assembly was allowed for local people. Richard was able to get to the front of Salt Pond Store when one policeman asked him if he wanted to get a newspaper. Richard asked the policeman if that wasn’t Dayne’s truck in the middle of all the trouble. Then Richard was confronted by another KPD officer, D. Martin, who called out that “We know who you are. I saw you at the Superferry!” and told him to get his paper and get out of there.

The police proceeded to yank open the doors on Dayne’s truck. Police officers tried, unsuccessfully, to pull Dayne from his truck. SWAT team members pushed cans of gas in Dayne’s face. They opened up the back to expose Alana. He became concerned his wife and daughter would be caught in the middle of a violent confrontation. He sensed that the actions of the police seemed to be an attempt to provoke him into making a mistake.

Dayne relented. He told Suekoa and Barriga that he would get out of the truck if they did not harass his family, adding,

“I’ll go with you guys, but I’m not under your jurisdiction.” Dayne was never read his rights when they took him down.

Dayne was brought to the Lihue station, booked and given a copy of the arrest record. The bail is set at $2,175. Immediately friends and family tried to call a 24/7 bail bondsman to free Dayne. Toni and Richard found that none would respond that night.

While in Lihue an unidentified police officer asked Dayne about the Iolani Palace occupation by sovereignty advocates on Oahu. He was casually asked how many of his people were there. Dayne won’t be free that night.

Later the police took the arrest record from him. Dayne was taken to the Kauai Correctional County Center (KCCC) and spent the night in jail without bond. Richard was up all night trying to free Dayne.

Toni drove home quite upset. She was not followed but got a call shortly from a friend who had spotted two police cruisers parked in the dark down her street watching her house.

The next morning a guard at KCCC also asks Dayne about the Iolani palace incident. apparently sovereignty activists anywhere in the state were being connected to the palace occupation. Later Dayne was transfered to court, not in his own clothes but in an orange jumpsuit in shackles on his hands and feet. Toni and Richard Hoeppner was at the court the next morning and were very upset. Before the the judge, Kathleen Watanabe, Dayne stated,

“There was no notification of a court date after I missed my plea hearing.”

The judge said that no notification was necessary. A plea of not guilty was entered and a jury trail on the impersonation of an officer was set for June 30th. Toni had pulled together the bail money. After some more legal hassles Dayne was finally free to go home around three in the afternoon.

Sometime after, early Friday morning, that Richard had a heart attack. He was flown to Oahu and is still in the hospital. Dayne sister Keikeilani went over to visit him.

One lesson to be learned from this behavior by the Kauai Police Department is how seriously the connections between the anti-Superferry, anti-GMO and the sovereignty movement are taken by Hawaiian authorities. Dayne is involved with all three and he is Hawaiian. This makes him a danger to the status quo.

If you carefully follow the events of the night it becomes clear that the KPD was stalking Dayne Aipoalani with a great deal of manpower, equipment and expense.

That kind of police action might be appropriate for arresting an armed murderer or to bust a meth factory, but not to execute a warrant on a failure to make it to court on a charge of carrying a “phoney” badge. This huge KPD effort was over a failed court appearance where there was a medical excuse on record.

It is further evident to me that the police were trying to taunt Dayne, to make him angry, to make him make a mistake - the result would have easily provokes a violent response by the poilce. This kind of baiting is unforgivable behavior for a force of professional “peace keepers”.

God forbid you are on their list for your activities and have an open can of beer at the beach or are having a fight with your spouse. Don’t tase me bro!"


"We don't need KPD in riot mode"
by Koohan Paik on 5 May 2008

"Besides being the man who spearheaded the anti-superferry movement with his legendary petition, Rich is the Chief of Police for the pacifist sovereignty group, The Kingdom of Atooi. Sadly, the group's members have lately been a target of intense harrassment by the Kauai Police Department.

Just last Wednesday, Rich was so upset over having witnessed a level of injustice against one of it's leaders, Dayne Aipoalani, that his heart gave out within thirty-six hours.

(He's thankfully in shape, though, currently in a Honolulu hospital awaiting surgery.)

Those who don't like to draw a causal connection between the police harrassment and the heart attack must still acknowledge that this is a textbook case of a stressful situation being followed up by a near-fatal health condition.

It all happened last Wednesday night after the GMO talks by Drs. Pang and Valenzuela, at the Hanapepe United Church of Christ. Dayne, Rich's friend, was present at the meeting to voice his belief that there is indeed a causal connection linking the west-side pesticide spraying with the sick children and teachers. His daughter goes to one of the schools that was evacuated.

While driving home from the meeting with his wife and daughter, Dayne was stopped by a large number of cops in perhaps a dozen or more cars, who had apparently staked him out. Some were in full-on riot gear. They tried to provoke him into arrestible behavior, but to no avail. They ended up shackling and hauling him off to jail on a contempt warrant for missing a court appearance.

Rich Hoeppner saw Dayne get apprehended and followed him and the KPD guys to the jailhouse, where he advocated for his friend.

Never mind that Dayne had a doctor's excuse for missing his court date, and that the excuse was indeed in the records.

This kind of amped-up take-down shake-down is totally uncalled for.


The event was extremely jarring to Rich, who happens to be an ex-Chief of Police himself and has therefore thought a great deal about right-and-wrong and appropriate police protocol. Given that, you can imagine his pulse quickening as he witnessed an innocent man terrorized by so-called "police enforcement officers."

Later, the next night, Rich was struck by the heart attack and airlifted to Honolulu.
Should we let our community slip mindlessly into a militarized police state? Do we need to give tasers, shields, bullet-proof vests and riot gear to these individuals who are indistinguishable from smarmy thugs?

It'll be Clockwork Orange right here in "paradise." Though we are now faced with so many important struggles on our tiny island, we must stand up and speak out against this. Once it's done, turning back will be near impossible."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

HI Superferry: "Monitoring the situation very closely"

Jeez, bunch more news the past week. Between Aloha Air Cargo, lost flight capacity, and HSF, I can barely keep up. There were so many good articles over the past few days in Pacific Business News, Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Maui News, Big Island Weekly, Ian Lind's blog, Joan Conrow's blog, Derrick Depledge's blog, and the Mobile, AL media. I may not have time to cover it all, but I'll try to cover some high points.

1) The following article that appeared in Big Island Weekly within the past few days:
"Time to jump ship?, Superferry manufacturer under fire" By Kristin Hashimoto

One of the more revealing quotes from that article:

"The allegations Jenkins made are similar to findings in corrective action reports filed by the Navy from May 2005 to May 2007 on another vessel manufactured by Austal... In August 2007 an article by Sean Reilly for the Newhouse News Service reported that the Navy had concerns about Austal's work on a Littoral Combat Ship. Some of the concerns the Navy listed were botched welds and employees doing work for which they were not qualified. Reilly obtained these government records under the federal Freedom of Information Act."

"Austal's own inspector found problems with the vessels during manufacturing. Teresa Hart is a certified level two inspector specializing in ultrasonics, magnetic particle and liquid penetrants. She is qualified to conduct visual inspections and to supervise welding, and was hired by Austal to provide quality assurance..."

"While onsite in Mobile as the Alakai was under construction, Hart noticed problems with some of that ship's welds..."

"While the ships didn't have a lot of quality assurance people eyeing each process and weld, Hart explained that Austal used x-rays to insure the structural integrity of the joinery. Still, Hart was concerned. As her clamors about quality control grew louder, she was terminated in March 2007, five months after she was first brought onboard. Reason? 'They told me I wasn't a team player.'"

2) Chad Blair has two really good articles and one great interview in the current newsstand edition of Pacific Business News dated May 2, 2008. The interview is with Thomas Fargo of HSF and Hawaiian Airlines. Taking a few quotes from that:

"Q: Approximately how many passengers and vehicles is the Superferry now transporting daily? Fargo: Over the past Friday through Monday we moved 2,000 passengers and 540 cars and trucks." [That is 250 pass. and 68 vehicles per one way]

"Q: Any chance Kauai service may resume soon? Fargo: We are 'monitoring' the situation 'very closely' and we are going to 'do what the community asks us to do.'"

"Q: Will you be stepping down from the board of Hawaiian Airlines due to possible conflict of interest? Fargo: We really see Hawaiian Airlines as a partner in almost every respect, but we serve really different markets. We are working with them on a fly-and-drive effort. As is always the case, we will see if there is any issue there, and we will do the right thing."

3) As Ian Lind posted earlier, more developed on the HSF lobby reporting:

Ian's original blog and letter
Ian's blog post on response to his letter
Derrick Depledge's blog post on Ian's work
Honolulu Advertiser's front page lead article on this yesterday.
Ian Lind's reply blog post to the article.

4) A recent continuing event got wide coverage in the Mobile, Alabama, area:

From CBS WKRG TV Mobile, AL
Recommend viewing the above video here, incl. the video for LCS and HSF.
From ABC 33/40
From AP and ABC WAAY 31
From the Mobile, AL newspaper

5) Reports on two recent positive community meetings on Kauai with "Good attendance for Westside meetings" - One focused on a GMO free Kauai - The other on general Kauai westside issues - and some intended intimidating arbitrary events that followed one of those meetings. Juan Wilson makes interesting comparisons with two recent posts; one about welds and "The China Syndrome," and the other about the breakdown of communications and judgement during the "Kent State" incident.

Will add more later,

Aloha, Brad

HI Superferry: Good Kauai Letter to the Editor

Good letter to the editor:  

"Superferry not for cargo"

"A common rant on this forum is 'after a hurricane the Superferry will be needed to move emergency people and cargo.'

But the truth is, after a hurricane, Superferry will likely be grounded for several reasons.

First, the ocean will be filled with floating debris from logs and branches to wood building material. This flotsam could easily damage Superferry’s relatively thin aluminum hull and also get sucked into its waterjets.

Second, pier facilities for docking and unloading will most certainly be damaged if not washed away completely.

The primary method for moving emergency supplies and personnel after a natural disaster is by air.

It is only necessary to clear the runway of debris and if that cannot be done, the military has perfected methods of pushing cargo on skids out the back of airplanes while flying low. Large cargo helicopters are also plentiful on Hawai‘i.

Day-to-day moving of relatively small and lightweight cargo is most efficiently done by air. Large or heavy items are most efficiently moved by slow-moving barge. Superferry is designed for high-speed trafficking of people and vehicles, it is not designed for moving cargo cheaply.

One carrier that moved 85 percent of the cargo is out of business. Aloha’s void will soon be filled. Superferry is not a long-term solution.

Homeless, drugs, criminals, frogs, snakes, bugs and weeds aside, Superferry is only running at about 1/4 capacity and this reader does not understand how it can remain a viable business for much longer."

T.L. Cameron

Well said,
Aloha, Brad

Friday, May 2, 2008

HI Superferry: Letter from Kauai Businessman

In response to the following article and quote:

"Food industry leaders ask for help in getting the Superferry to sail to assist with cargo"

By Tom Finnegan and Rosemarie Bernardot

LIHUE...Jimmy Trujillo said, "The military cargo Strykerferry isn't the vehicle to carry depleted uranium and baked goods," he added...

I forward a reply from a businessman on Kauai:

"Aloha Jimmy,

When the Superferry can prove that their service is actually going to keep prices down then maybe more people will buy into your theory that it will solve the cargo dilemma. So far all we have seen from them are "come on" fares that do not reconcile with the real cost of them traveling back and forth to deliver cargo. These "come on" fares are there to try to establish a need for service. Once that happens they will raise the fares and pass it along to the folks.

Whatever the cost is or becomes in the future the citizens of Kauai will surely pay the price plus a small handling fee. But what is the total cost? It is not just covering the operating expenses of a flawed business venture. The cost includes, but is not limited to, defending ourselves from invasive species, added police, more traffic congestion, and maintaining our decaying public facilities. We will all pay these additional costs either in the form of higher taxes, lost productivity (due to traffic), jobs that will be taken from off island contractors, and decreased tourism once our rural charm disappears.

I would rather see Kauai become more independent than dependant. We need to take this opportunity to look at our vulnerabilities and act to reduce them. Looking for the quickest solution may work for the short term but not for the long haul. Being able to purchase fresh bread is not a good reason to bring the Superferry to Kauai.

I purchase Loves products and enjoy them; but if they are pushing to restore service to Kauai so they can maintain their market share then I will stop purchasing their products and I urge all Kauai residents to consider the same.


Right on,
Aloha, Brad