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

No comments: