Saturday, January 31, 2009

Forget about LCS, Concensus building around JHSV INSTEAD?

Interesting blog entry from elsewhere on this:

The JHSV Threat to LCS

Sean Meade at the Ares Blog echoes yours truly’s call for replacing the costly LCS for high speed vessels:

The JHSV accomplishes every mission that the LCS is capable with the exception of fire support. In many ways that mission is better performed by other platforms and the US’ orientation toward soft power exercises (especially in South America) will be the ultimate proving ground for vessels of this type. Its high transit speed makes it very enticing as a rapid transport for the Army’s Air Assault Expeditionary Force, Stryker Brigades, and Marine Expeditionary Units. Instead of a piecemeal arrival of forces, the JHSV will allow complete unit insertion for whatever the need may be-either humanitarian assistance or preventative war operations.

In the mothership role, the JHSV could support smaller armed warships that could take up the fire support mission.

This entry was posted on January 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm and is filed under seapower.

Aloha, Brad

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where the Hell did that Mauibrad dude go?

For those of you wondering where I've been, have been posting a lot over the past number of days on my other blog I'll be back here shortly.

Aloha, Brad

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Clarifying Misperceptions about the Superferry"

Excellent collaborative Op-Ed in the Kaua'i newspaper today:


"Clarifying Misperceptions about the Superferry"
By Andrea Brower, George Inouye, Nani Rogers and Ed Coll
Published: Monday, January 26, 2009

Hawai‘i Superferry has been debated in Hawai‘i ever since the newly elected Gov. Lingle assigned her chief of staff, Bob Awana, to personally consult and expedite the HSF project back in 2002.

Since then, volumes of information have reached every Hawai‘i resident; factual and informative, partial and biased, sometimes not true at all. As a result, public opinion has formed up around ideology and personal interest, often without basis in fact. Here, then, are four common misperceptions about the Superferry.

The first misperception is that a study just released, mandated by the Oct. 31, 2007 Act II legislation, is a legitimate environmental impact statement. That report, being called an EIS, is lacking a critical component of a true Environmental Impact Statement, as defined in the National and Hawai‘i Environmental Policy Acts. Both include an option of “no action.”

That means if the study shows that environmental impacts are very serious and cannot be mitigated, then the project must be terminated. An EIS should be conducted before the start of a project in the same way that a driver should be licensed and the car have a safety check before being allowed on the road.

The misnamed “EIS” recently released by the contractor Belt Collins omits the “no action” alternative; it was custom-tailored by the legislature in special session to suit the needs of HSF. That means that any findings, no matter how disastrous to the environment, will not get in the way of the company’s operations.

The second misperception, fostered by the Lingle administration, is that there is no connection between HSF and the military. In its Public Utilities application in July 2004, HSF Inc. “anticipated that an entire battalion of 350 Stryker tanks will be able to be transported from O‘ahu to their training grounds on the Big Island in four trips...”

Soon after that, CEO John Lehman was quoted in Pacific Business News as saying the Superferry “will make it easier for soldiers to train when the Stryker Brigade comes to Hawai‘i.”

The third misperception, being against HSF is to be against alternative modes of transportation. This is a false division. Almost all “Superferry protesters” are in favor of an inter-island ferry service. How would these ferries be different? They would carry passengers only, with some cargo capacity.

That would substantially reduce the threat of invasive pest transfer and removal of already depleted ocean and mountain resources from the outer islands. No more searching of vehicles and personal property. Their speed would be like that of other inter-island vessels, the danger to whales being nearly eliminated. The ferries would be sized appropriately for our travel needs, would have a clean, cost-effective propulsion system and would be Hawai‘i-owned, either privately or publicly.

The fourth misperception is that those opposed to the Superferry don’t care about the economy. Hawaii’s economy starts and ends with our environment and our indigenous culture. It is worth noting that in a poll by National Geographic Travel Magazine to select favorite island vacation destinations, in which O‘ahu placed 104 out of 111 choices, poll respondents cited overdevelopment of the island and trivialization and commercialization of the Hawaiians’ culture.

Hawai‘i Superferry, publicizing itself as the H4, extends that develop-and-exploit mindset to the outer islands. Where did Kaua‘i place in that poll? 64th.

If viewed in the context of promoting a healthy local economy, those who think Superferry would be good for business should be careful what they wish for. Businesses on O‘ahu, from plumbers to surf instructors, would leap at the opportunity to expand to Kaua‘i. And with their higher sales volume allowing for lower profit margin, they would be very competitive indeed.

In a larger context, for many on the neighbor islands, a good portion of what they put on the table comes from the mountains and the sea. Unlike O‘ahu, we have considerable remaining natural resources.

When oil prices climb again, and traditional jobs and money become more scarce, these resources and our agricultural lands, our “natural” economy, will be needed to bridge us to a future where we must supply much more of our own needs, while maintaining and restoring the resources as well.

The real equation is: To oppose Superferry is to oppose the way the democratic process was completely discarded. Gov. Lingle bent over backward to give a New York corporation, the HSF, whatever it wanted, when it wanted.

That included calling the special session to craft a law, the constitutionality of which is now being questioned by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.

Here we have neither a company nor an administration that have shown respect for our local communities.

• Andrea Brower is a coordinator for Malama Kaua‘i. George Inouye is a Westside fisherman. Nani Rogers is a Kanaka Maoli activist. Ed Coll is a teacher at Kaua‘i Community College.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

February $28 Inter-island fares; Meanwhile Lingle/DOT asking for a Measly few million more for this

Have been reading over all of the PUC, Consumer Advocate, statutory, and Act 2 documentation regarding how false assumptions were relied upon in determining 'public convenience and necessity' on this.

One of the key assumptions was that HSF would be able to price themselves profitably at 1/2 the price of inter-island airfares. That ain't happenin' at these airfares, and it won't happen later either because HSF's fuel cost structure per passenger is greater than for inter-island jet flights.

Another assumption that hasn't held is that reported ridership demand for HSF's services on average for the past year, except for the summer months, hasn't even gotten to break-even for them. Meaning that given the design they are using, consumer need and demand hasn't been enough to enabled them to even break-even beyond the 2 - 3 summer months. Anyway, that is another post that is almost ready.

The following is something I heard Ron Wiley advertising on the radio similar to what Go! is offering, which HSF cannot match contrary to goals stated in their PUC filings. Notice the nice comfortable-looking large seating in the below pictures at

Christie Wilson had a couple of good front page articles in today's paper here and here. Apparently Belt Collins now wants 70% more than originally asked for to finish the Act 2 pseudo-EIS, up to a cool $1.7 mil. Shoot, the whole thing shoulda been done for a couple hundred thou. DOT-Harbors wants another $1 to $1.5 million to fix the Kahului barge mooring system. And DOT-Harbors wants another $250,000 to $350,000 to clear out the productive fishing boats at the end of Pier 19/20 to make room for HSF II, the one that's expected to have it's own ramp. In total, the Lingle Administration is now asking for a few million more in 'unforeseen' expenses that have come about because a real E.I.S. wasn't done.

Wonder how much more money this thing's gonna need? Ever heard of cuttin' your losses? You know, in Washington and Alaska viable ferry systems are owned by the state. Meanwhile, high school kids mentioned to me today that their after-school activities, athletic and other events are being cut back by the Governor and State. The kids wondered why they're getting the cuts and the ferry keeps getting more money. I didn't have a good answer for them, at least not that they would find acceptable.

Regarding the Supreme Court case, it has taken so long, that I am starting to think there has been incredible pressure put upon the Justices to cave in and uphold Act 2. Will be pleasantly surprised if that turns out to not be the case.

Aloha, Brad

Friday, January 23, 2009

"How About 'Bump Detectors' for the Superferry?"

Lee Tepley, Ph.D. released the following today:

"How about 'Bump detectors' for the Superferry?" -- Feel free to circulate
by Lee Tepley, Ph.D.

...Before the present case was initiated before the Hawaii Supreme Court, I had put in a lot of time documenting the threats to whales caused by fast ferries...

Anyhow, Koohan [Paik]’s request started me thinking about the Superferry again. I had expected that the Superferry, now into it’s 2nd whale season, would have hit a few whales but - so far - no collisions have been reported. Why not??

Perhaps no collisions have occurred – or perhaps they have occurred but were not observed or reported.

After a bit of thought, I realized that it would be difficult to verify a collision even if there was no attempt at a cover-up.

Consider a case where one or more whales surface a short distance in front of the Superferry which is charging along at it’s usual 40 mph. Maybe the Superferry pilot sees the whales and attempts to manuever or slow down – but in a few seconds the whales would be close to the pontoons – and a few seconds later the Superferry would have passed over the whales whether or not there had been a collison. And in another 10 seconds the Superferry would be far ahead of the whales – so, if they were hit, their bleeding bodies would quickly disappear in the distance. They might drift out to sea or, perhaps, be eaten by sharks.

And if the Superferry did hit a whale, would there be a detectable bump?? A simple calculation shows that if the whale weighed less than 10 tons (baby or juvenile), the bump would be very small and might not be felt. If the whale were full grown (about 100 tons), the bump would probably be felt. But so what?? The disturbance would last for only a few seconds. Would anyone bother to report it?? And without a dead body, the bump would not really prove anything.

However, dead Humpbacks might drift in to shore and onto a beach – as dead Sperm whales often do in the Canary Islands when they are hit by fast ferries similar to the Hawaii Superferry. And, if this happened, their cut-up bodies could strongly suggest an impact pontoons.

But the distances between the Hawaiian Islands are much greater than the distances between the Canary Islands – and the Hawaiian islands don’t have nearly as many beaches as the Canaries – so the odds of dead whales drifting ashore are much less in Hawaii than in the Canaries. Dead whales would most likely drift out to sea.
[Dead whales tell no tails...--Ed.]

So it might take many years before a collision between the Superferry and a whale is ever verified. The way things are now, all we can do is wait.

But there are ways of detecting ship-whale collisions – although the Superferry people will not like them. Duane Erway, Dr. Alex Reynolds and myself have already suggested them at various Superferry meetings and they are discussed in detail on my web site. Go to:

Then link to the page: Detecting Whale Collisions - Kona EIS Scoping Meeting

The Superferry Company has, of course, ignored our suggestions – so it is time to bring them up again.

In this high-tech world, there are a number of gadgets that can be used to detect ship-whale collisions. Cory Harden suggested calling them “Bump Detectors.” Four such bump detectors are outlined below. For redundancy, they should probably all be employed at once.

Upon a ship-whale collision, they would all put out electrical signals which would be recorded on a hard drive on the Superferry. The hard drive must not be accessible to the Superferry’s crew. It would have to be removed periodically and the data would be analyzed on a computer by an independent observer.

Installing the bump detectors and analyzing the data would cost money – but what’s a few bucks to the Superferry company? They seem happy to lose money on almost every voyage.

The bump detectors are as follows:

Bump Detector #1 - Accelerometer. This device measures acceleration directly. A unit should be placed on the front of each pontoon. The electrical signal will indicate the magnitude of the bump.

Bump Detector #2 - Hydrophone. This is an underwater microphone. One should be mounted on the front of each pontoon near an accelerometer. It will put out an electrical signal proportional to the sound made by a body hitting the pontoon.

The electrical signals from the accelerometers and hydrophones will be redundant. They will both identify collisions but will not show the cause of the collisions so the recorded data will not be conclusive.

Bump Detector #3 - Low intensity, high frequency, forward-looking Sonar. Sonar systems should be mounted on both pontoons. They would provide a crude picture of marine mammals approaching and striking a pontoon. It would be necessary to look at the sonar data only at times immediately preceeding a bump as detected by the accelerometers and/or hydrophones. The sonar signals would not be strong enough to cause hearing damage to marine mammals that do not strike the pontoons. Many high frequency sonars are similar to fish finders.

Bump Detector #4 - Video camera. This would give an accurate picture of marine mammals approaching and striking the pontoons. They would have to be carefully mounted to avoid water bubbles forming in front of the camera housing and ruining the picture. A collision might destroy a camera housing but not before the picture was sent to the hard drive. The video signal would have to be analyzed only in the time interval just before a collision activates an accelerometer or hydrophone. It could be erased at all other times so video data would use very little drive space.

Data from the above four bump detectors would result in accurate and undeniable identification of collisions between marine mammals and the Superferry.

Cory Harden believes that it is important for you to include the use of bump detectors in your comments on the phony pseudo-EIS. I hope that Cory is right.

Lee Tepley

Thursday, January 22, 2009

From the Passenger who Called in the HSF Incident Yesterday

[Joan Conrow has a good post today Friday, January 23, 2009, on much of this at Musings: No Look, No See.--Ed.]

I wish I could share all of the discussion about this, but I feel I don't have permission. Instead, Karen Chun does a good job in summarizing and quoting from an interview with the passenger who called in the report to officials. That passenger was apparently interviewed disrespectfully at his home Thursday morning by a state official. That passenger has lived his whole life on Maui and knows the ocean well. Here is Karen Chun's report on it.

Here was one reply to the discussion that Karen reports on:

"...Very nicely stated. Since they came to full stop, it would be interesting to know whether they made any real effort to determine if a whale was actually hit. Did an officer go to the back of the HSF and make an observation? Did they record their exact location? Report it? And ask other boats/ships to help report a possibly injured whale?--D..."

Aloha, Brad

Another Blog Comparing JHSV and LCS

In reply to the blog New Wars: LCS Alternatives-High Speed Vessels

Mauibrad replied: January 21, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Leesea said:
“Two other thougths. The JHSV at $185 mil for first ship is very expensive when compared to other Austal cats of the same design. Is there sufficient value added to the Navy spec’d ship? Goes to your argument for more hulls of simpler type is bettter than gold plated NAVSEA ones.”

Exactly. In fact as you know, if the $185 mil price is kept, that would be TWICE the price of comparably designed ferry cats.

Mike said:
“Concerning price, the JHSV still comes in at less the original cost of the LCS. I am thinking this is due to mismanagement at the shipyards…”

The LCS designs are much larger ships with more engine power. LCS is also a combatant vessel which is the main reason that it had to be redesigned from civilian spec to mil spec. That redesign was what more than doubled the cost to close to $500 mil. The JHSV is a non-combatant vessel and therefore does not have to be redesigned to full mil spec. Which is why it’s cost of production should be less than $100 mil even though the first one has been budgeted for $185 mil.

One more point, JHSV-1’s original civilian design is an aluminium hull that at it’s thickest is 1/2 an inch thick of aluminium. At high speed it cannot take contact with barely anything other than water. Furthermore, JHSV-1’s original design with a high cross hull between the cat hulls, rather than a wave-piercing M underhull, is proving to have deck-slamming seakeeping problems with seastates that it is expected to be able to operate within.

Mike Burleson replied: January 22, 2009 at 8:13 am
“LCS is also a combatant vessel which is the main reason that it had to be redesigned from civilian spec to mil spec.”

This is a true statement and where the USN has a wrong and dated concept. Like many in the military, they are fixated on platforms which are ever more costly due to increased expense of defensive systems, stealth, increased engine power, ect. This is why I’ve have written on the need for more “dumb platforms” which can carry advanced weapons that are the real revolution.

For instance, in the mothership role the HSV would be like the carrier, its unmanned systems or attack craft should do the fighting while the parent ship acts as a base of operations, keeping out of danger as much as possible.

In wartime you may see the need to add more defensive systems on the HSV, the lessons of war. But I still think it would be a better launch platform for unmanned systems than the LCS, as it is already a support type vessel.

And a related item that came out a few days ago:
"McCullough: Fleet not able to go everywhere"
By Philip Ewing - Staff writer Jan 16, 2009

Today’s Navy is entering its most fiscally and operationally challenging era in decades, the service’s top requirements officer said Wednesday, as a consistently high demand from combatant commanders means the service doesn’t have enough ships to go all the places it wants.

There’s a “presence deficit” for U.S. naval forces across the globe, said Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources. What’s more, the worldwide economic crisis and concurrent uncertainty about funding from Congress means the Navy will have a tricky time estimating the money it needs and the money it will get to pay for what McCullough called “the triangle of death” — people, operations and procurement.

“I’ve got a lot of people sitting on the fourth deck and the fifth deck in my wedge of the Pentagon, and they’re spinning like tops” working to account for all the factors, he said.

Even more uncertainty comes from anticipating the priorities of the incoming Obama administration and fluctuating fuel costs, McCullough said.

“Last July, I crawled under my desk when I looked at the cost of a … barrel of oil,” he said. Yesterday the price was about $41 a barrel, “so now I’m dancing on my desk. But I have no idea what it’s going to be next week.”

McCullough made his remarks in a presentation before the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium outside Washington. He said that despite the Navy’s challenges and the coming fiscal uncertainty, the service should continue to maintain what he called its “high-end” ships and capabilities, even as a new generation of “low-end” ships, including the littoral combat ship and the Joint High Speed Vessel, are entering the portfolio.

The LCS and JHSV will be appealing for working with the navies of developing nations, but if the Navy loses its high-end capabilities, it’ll never get them back, McCullough said. The costs to build a new carrier or Aegis cruiser are prohibitively higher than maintaining existing ones.

“You’ve got to be able to maintain the high end capability because if you lose it, the cost to recoup it is incredible, not only in dollars, but in other things. So you have to be able to maintain the industrial base, and a capability at the high end, if you choose to be a high-end Navy.”

Aloha, Brad

AT LEAST 5 Close Approaches to Whales Have Happened

KITV had a good report at

"Superferry Has Close Encounter With Whale"
UPDATED: 10:29 pm HST January 21, 2009

HONOLULU -- The Superferry came close to a humpback whale while on it's morning voyage to Maui. The federal agency charged with overseeing possible whale strikes was alerted by a passenger...

Capt. Adam Parsons said this is only the second time he has come close to a whale since the Superferry began operating...

"February and March is when we see the most whales in our waters and we really want to just remind mariners who are operating on the water keep a sharp lookout. And if they come within 100 yards within a whale to stop and just to be very cautious," said Naomi McIntosh, Marine Mammal Sanctuary manager...

To report vessel collisions with whales to NOAA Fisheries call 1-888-256-9840 or the U.S Coast Guard at 1-800-552-6458.

It is also clear that passengers will need to get picture/s or video of any future situations if at all possible.

As for the comment about only the second time he has come close to a whale, that may be true for Capt. Parsons, but Capt. Campbell of the Alakai also had a similar close approach on 4/11/08, and Capt. Curtis of the Alakai also had similar close approaches on 4/16/08 with one whale, and on 4/22/08 with two whales. (See pages 67-75 of this .pdf, also reminder that the Alakai did not operate during much of the whale season last year.) These are just the 5 instances of close approaches that have been documented and made readily available to the wider public. Are there other instances at other times that have been documented but not published to the wider public?

It is clear that passengers will need to get picture/s or video of any future situations if at all possible.

Aloha, Brad

Book Review: "Ferry bad things"

Best book review on it that I have seen. Better than mine:


"Ferry bad things"
A sordid chronicle
by Matthew Martin / 1-21-2009

The Superferry Chronicles / In the future, when historians are looking for an image to succinctly capture the feeling of fatigue and dread—dread over overexpansion, militarism, environmental degradation, corporate greed, the failure of local politics to protect the interests of its citizens—that is sometimes manifest in citizens of Hawai‘i in this new millennium, they will need only to find a snapshot of the Alakai—the behemoth inter-island ferryboat, commonly, ominously, derisively, known as the Superferry.

If the above paragraph seems unfair, if it seems to discount out of hand the much-ballyhooed—by our governor, Department of Transportation toadies, and the corporate stooges whom they serve—notion that the Superferry provides an economical and convenient method of transport between islands and the fact that the Superferry brings along with it a number of much-needed jobs to the Islands, it is because, given the insanely underhanded manner in which this Superferry project was undertaken and foisted upon local residents, this reviewer does not believe that the Alakai’s presence in these Islands is a product of governmental and corporate largesse.

It is an opinion that has only deepened upon reading Koohan Paik and Jerry Mander’s new book, The Superferry Chronicles. Paik and Mander rehash the entire sorry affair—the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement or Assessment, a cavalier disregard for input from local residents, corporate stewardship by foreign policy hawks and militarists who have an eye toward developing a fleet of large catamarans, much like the Alakai, for use by the U.S. Navy, and passage of SB1 SD1, a law that protects the Superferry from environmental laws, among other things. There is much to be angry about in this book. Those moments, however, are not what makes this book worth reading: rather it is in the smaller moments of resistance reported in these pages—when watermen, residents, environmentalists, peace activists, and writers push back and assert themselves—that the reader finds hope.

The book begins (following a pair of provocative introductions from the authors which establish the Superferry as yet another in a long line of historical incidents where Hawai‘i has been exploited by outside forces; both should be required reading for Superferry advocates if only to give them some context for residents’ anger) with a recounting of the stand at Nawiliwili Harbor on Kaua‘i in August of 2007, when residents, both on land and in the water, blocked the Alakai from entering. It’s a positive chapter that outlines the grassroots efforts on Kaua‘i to mobilize citizens against the Superferry. But I would suggest reading the book out of order and instead beginning with chapters seven and eight, in which Paik and Mander provide a timeline of events showing that the idea for the ferry and the lobbying that would make it a reality started as far back as 2001.

Reading through these chapters can be demoralizing as each year seems to contain some bit of low dealing more galling than the year previous. 2004 is pivotal, however, as it sees the first hints that state agencies would accommodate the Superferry to whatever end, as the DOT and PUC issue certificates and give their approbation to the project despite no real assessment of the environmental impact of the ferry and the public outcry against granting the Superferry privileges in the state. Gov. Linda Lingle, who does not emerge in the most favorable light in these pages, pushes for exemptions from environmental assessments. And meanwhile the first hawks begin circling, in the forms of John Lehman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, both militarists who recognize the military capabilities of such a ferry, and both of whom seek to provide capital to the project. The succeeding years are no better and are filled with more chicanery and blatant disregard for public opinion. The tide finally begins to turn at the aforementioned Nawiliwili Harbor, but by then damage has already been done.

Once context has been established, readers should turn their attention to the section titled “Environment,” with special attention paid to Hannah Bernard’s essay which describes in clear, thoughtful prose the devastating effects of not only collisions between whales and other marine life and vessels, but also the effects of noise pollution, as well as threats to traditional fishing and gathering sites. Reading this section, it is not difficult to extrapolate a rather chilling notion of the kind of havoc that the Superferry could cause.

The next stop for readers, which will no doubt be the most controversial, are the essays which posit the Superferry as a conduit for still more militarism in Hawai‘i. Joan Conrow’s essay about the Superferry as a precursor to a fleet of similar vessels to be used by the U.S. Navy (and most likely docked in the Islands) is a clear-eyed assessment of what the future could hold for the state. Haunani-Kay Trask offers a typically outraged (with reason) response not only to the Superferry, but to the military presence in Hawai‘i as a whole. Whatever one’s views on the U.S. military’s presence here, these essay should be required reading, if only to gain some understanding of why many here resist that presence with such vehemence.

After that, readers should peruse the book as they like, so long as they eventually wend their way back to the aforementioned chapter on the stand at Nawiliwili Harbor. It is an instance of citizens standing up and actually affecting a change in their community. The Superferry did not dock that day in August and it hasn’t since. It was a moment of resistance that re-framed the debate over the Superferry and gave those who have the potential to be most affected by its presence a voice. And so does this book; it is protest literature that should be read and absorbed for the lessons and information it contains, but also for its ability to empower the individual and give one hope that a handful of people or even one person can, in the face of apathy, cynicism, and impossible odds, still make a difference.

If I could make a suggestion to the future historians mentioned in the opening paragraph, be sure to include in your collection of images the one that serves as a frontispiece to this book. In it, a waterman sits astride a surfboard in the waters of Nawiliwili Harbor, his arms are raised—not in supplication, he’s not prostrating himself or seeking mercy—his arms are raised in protest. Directly before him is the Alakai, dead in the water. For all of the machinations, greed and cynicism that marshaled the ferry into existence, for all the power it supposedly possesses, it has been stopped by one man on a surfboard. And if the Alakai is, as was suggested above, the manifestation of our collective dread, then this image describes the moment when we found our resolve, faced that dread, and began to stand against it.

The Superferry Chronicles Koohan Paik and Jerry Mander Koa Books, 319 pp.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Something happened today in transit from 7:25 to 7:30 am

A passenger onboard today called an independent organization while in transit to report an incident that caused the vessel to have to "come to a stop." The passenger reported more. The vessel continued on with the voyage. The passenger and others alerted authorities. The vessel would be due at Kahului in a few minutes (~9:30am). Regardless of what happened, I remind all of the following requirement, as this will come up again:

From EO 07-10:

6. The company shall agree that any vessel's Master shall document and report any collision or whale approach less than 100 meters from the vessel, that in the event of a collision, the company shall document observable damage or injury to the whale and, if safe and possible, remain on scene with the whale until rescue response arrives, and within twenty-four hours of any whale collision, provide a detailed written report of the collision to the Director of Transportation and the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Of note, the vessel was only dealing with 7 - 8 ft. open ocean waves at the time and location of the incident. See here for those conditions and here. The vessel has had difficulty with deck-slamming in vertical movement on waves larger than this, but not significantly with lateral movement in smaller waves. Lateral movement is not likely to make the deck-slamming noise. Also, situations like this at this time of year would likely involve a pod and not just one specimen. To affirm these types of situations, it will be necessary for passengers to take pictures if at all possible, although this will be hard to do as there is a blind spot 50 to 100 yards off in all directions for passengers and from the center of the bridge. As a result, on close approach, even the bridge cannot be certain of contact or not.

Aloha, Brad

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Beating the Machine: "The ferry was even too slow for us."

[Just noticed, as you watch this video and look at the below picture, take a close look at the wave-piercing tip of the hull. Enlarge it. Pause the video. What do you see?--Ed.-1/19/09]

Professional Speedsurfing blogger Erik Loots today posted on an Andrew Buchanan interview in PWA with Robby Swift about the NeilPryde video "Race Against the Machine"...
I call it, "Beating the Machine":

Click here for larger view of picture.

Robby Swift about "Race against machine"
by Erik Loots Sunday, January 18, 2009 in

"Race Against The Machine"
16.01.09 - By: Andrew Buchanan
The PWA gets the inside scoop on NeilPryde’s latest jaw dropping PR stunt, the Race Against the Machine.

Setting new standards in windsurfing PR, industry heavyweights NeilPryde have once again defied convention to publicise their new slalom foils, the RS:Slalom MKIII and the RS:Racing EvoII.

Dubbed ‘Race Against the Machine,’ NeilPryde plucked the cream of their international slalom team to race Hawaii’s super ferry across the Molokai channel (see link to video below). The astonishing helicopter footage provides a thought provoking insight into just how fast the slalom fleet travel when gunning it flat stick.

Eager to know more, the PWA hit up wave/slalom specialist and NeilPryde rider, Robby Swift:

“We often test the NeilPryde Racing sails down at Kahului Harbour and so we see the Super Ferry flying in and out of there most days. I am not sure who it was that had the idea of chasing it around to take photos, but it was certainly a fun day out!

It was really windy (I was on a 5.5 RS Slalom, and pretty over powered) so it was also very rough out there. Micah, Antoine, Pieter and myself cruised out to wait for the ferry to make its way out into the shadow of the West Maui Mountains. We had Jason Polakow on the jet ski chasing us for safety, but he turned out to be more of a liability to himself as he was thrown from the ski a couple of times, and only just managed to catch it up again, swimming for his life! You would not want to be lost at sea with no jet ski out there!

We basically chased the ferry all the way from Kahului round towards the Molokai channel. I think Micah said we sailed 80km that day, and it was all full, break-neck speed, very exciting to say the least! At one point the helicopter that was following us so Elliot and Jerome could film managed to flatten me with its downdraft, leaving me floundering on my own, miles from anywhere. Luckily, the ferry switched course to go a little more downwind at that point, so I was able to catch back up again.”

Robby Swift is sponsored by JP boards and NeilPryde sails. Source: PWA

Thanks for the insight Swifty. To check out "Race Against the Machine," CLICK HERE.
[This is a higher quality version than what is available on Youtube. Let it buffer through once and then watch it on the second playing.]

The Youtube version that Damon Tucker pointed out:

Alternatively, for a different perspective you can view some amateur footage shot from the ferry (including Swifty’s wipeout), Same thing from onboard:

Aloha, Brad

After You've Been Seasick, This is a Nice Alternative

Got this in the e-mail today:

Dear Valued Customer,

Go! invites you to travel between Honolulu and Kona, Hawai`i; Lihu`e, Kaua`i; or Kahului, Maui, for only $27*. Go! is now offering special $27* one-way fares for travel between February 1 and 28, 2009. If you intend to travel in February, be sure to visit now because these great deals will go fast.

February is an exciting month in Hawai`i. You can travel for Valentine's Day, to see exciting events including the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival and Hawai`i Island Chinese Film Festival on the Big Island or in Honolulu, the Sony Open, Gloria Estefan in concert, the Great Aloha Run and Hawai`i International Jazz Festival...

The Go! Team

* Special fares start from $27 and are available only in select markets. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Seats are limited and fares may not be available on all flights. Changes can be made prior to scheduled departure for a fee of $20 per person plus any applicable difference in airfare. Fares displayed do not include September 11th Security Fees of up to $5 each way and a Federal Segment Excise Tax of $3.50 per segment.

Borderline Conditions

Have added a new 'Conditions' section over to the right here. The vessel is apparently making a go of it today. Here are the conditions it will be struggling into. These are the times when the conditions passed Buoy 1 today, 4 hours after that they reach Kauai, 5-6 hours to reach Oahu:

Time at Buoy 1 Windsd-kts Gusts-kts Waveheight-ft
2:50 am------------19.4-------25.3-------16.1
3:50 am------------19.4-------25.3-------17.1
4:50 am------------19.4-------25.3-------15.7
5:50 am------------21.4-------25.3-------15.4
6:50 am------------19.4-------23.3-------17.7 (12 - 1pm Oahu)
7:50 am------------19.4-------25.3-------19.0 (1 - 2pm Oahu)
8:50 am------------21.4-------25.3-------18.4 (2 - 3pm Oahu)

Keeping in mind that the above wave heights are more orderly open-ocean swell, as opposed to higher near-shore breaking wave faces or in-channel wind-whipped and anomalous rogue waves.

The ride to and from Maui today would be very rough for the passengers, but the ride from Maui back to Oahu could border on the most that this vessel can handle.

Aloha, Brad

Pseudo-'EIS', Emissions, and Fuel in-Efficiency

Yeah, that Part 5 will be up soon, but first got the following comments:

From: Jeff Mikulina
Subject: Superferry EIS

My calculations on GHG emissions from Superferry: EIS says total of 87,377 metric tons, or 96,317 short tons. Using assumptions (used by DBEDT) of average vehicle in Hawaii getting 22 miles per gallon and driving 8000 miles per year, and given that one gallon of gasoline produces 20 lbs of GHG, the EIS suggests that the climate impact of Superferry is equivalent of adding 26,500 cars to Hawaii.--Jeff

To which I responded:


Interesting calculations on emissions. Ken Stokes may find them interesting too.

Reminds me of the calculations that the Alakai's diesel engines (4 x 8200kW) put out enough energy to power 16,500 Hawaiian households while in transit. and

That HSF burns 15 times the petroleum-based fuel (MDO diesel) that a Hawaiian Airplane (jet fuel) burns to cover the same route, and even if you multiply the Hawaiian flights up to HSF's max. capacity, Hawaiian is still at least twice as fuel efficient as HSF at transporting people interisland.

There are those who might say yes, but Hawaiian Air can't transport vehicles. For which the response would be, in this day-and-age given the oil situation now and in the future, consumers in Hawaii don't really need to move their personal cars quickly for leisure 100+ miles between islands.

Lastly, the reason for all of the above emissions and fuel consumption points is because the Alakai relies upon 4 x diesel engines as opposed to 2 x diesel engines or something comparable - an idea for a new sustainable ferry design consistent with "Use Half ".

Which elicited the following response from Ken Stokes:

Aloha Brad (!

Sad, yeah? The state of practice in measuring our Hawai`i footprint...`Auwe! We need apples-to-apples metrics, like yesterday!

I appreciate Jeff's calculation... I'm more focused on inter-island transport, and am interested in HSF versus flying. So, try this:

We know that a round-trip flight from Lihu`e to Honolulu spews 264 pounds of CO2 per passenger (via atmosfair:

The EIS forecasts 363,000 HSF passengers in 2010 (the year when total GHGs are estimated at 96,000 short tons).

If these passengers flew instead, they would spew 48,000 short tons, or one-half of HSF total emissions.

...Of course, any meaningful comparative statements presume we have some confidence in the GHG metrics for this boat, as provided by this EIS (which I don't).

Go figure,

Aloha, Brad

Monday, January 12, 2009

How can you Spot Anything in 10 to 20 Feet of Vertical Movement?

Almost done with that "Act 2: A Closed Class of One (Part 5)" on 'need' or lack thereof.

Larry Geller had a good post today "Is the Indonesian ferry disaster a warning for Hawaii’s interisland ferry?" in the early afternoon.

In the late afternoon today the company announced they are going into 'annual drydock' Feb. 2 - Feb. 17, as reported here. That's President's Day/Valentine's week, one of the top 5 busiest weeks in the state for travel. Seems like before or after that week might have been better for business...unless there were other considerations.

The combination of Larry's post and the above announcement got me thinking about something. There is suppose to be a large swell Wednesday afternoon through Friday. Consistent waves of at least 14 to 18 feet are expected on northshores of Maui county, and up to 20 feet on northshores of Kauai and Niihau. It was disclosed in the RRA that the vessel should not operate in waves of 6 meters (19.7 ft) by Coast Guard regs. and that the vessel is suppose to slow down according to the following wave heights:

Significant Wave Height (M)--Maximum Allowable Speed (kts)
6.0+M------[=19.7ft]--------------Seek shelter [not operate]

Indications have been seen of greater speeds than these at these wave heights.

As Larry questions, there also is the concept of "rogue waves" that can be significantly higher than the prevailing and predictable wave heights at any given time, esp. in the channels here.

But what I got to thinking about today, and the point of this post, is about operating in the above wave heights of say 10 to 19 feet during the Whale Season.

First of all, in waves of say 4 meters or 13 feet or more, your whale lookouts likely cannot be outside, all whale lookouts would have to be on the bridge. Then everybody is looking through glass. On top of that you are bobbing up and down with vertical movement of anywhere from 10 to almost 20 feet, and probably everyone on the bridge has to be strapped into their seat. (Furthermore, often in the Winter going east, the southern route through the Whale Sanctuary is going to be less turbulent than the northern route, so it is more likely to be taken.)

So, how in the hell are people on the bridge, strapped into their seats, looking through water-sprayed glass, going through 10 to 20 feet of rapid vertical movement (with their line of vision going through many hundreds of feet of verticle movement) going to be able to see whales (much less baby whales near the surface) 500 to 1000 yards or meters up ahead? And even if they did see a whale, is there enough control over the vessel in THESE kinds of waves to definitively avoid the whale without creating undue stress on the vessel's steering mechanisms and on the passengers? How can the "Whale Avoidance Policy" actually be followed when the vessel is bobbing up and down through 15 to 20 feet of verticle movement?

The preceeding exact three questions I do not recall being asked nor addressed in neither E.O. 07-10, nor any the OTF Reports, nor the RRA, nor the Act 2 "EIS," nor Coast Guard regs. Is this what the State paid $1.5 million to not study? I find it incredible that nobody in the Governor's Office, nor DOT, nor Belt Collins thought to ask these specific questions and expect realistic answers to them.

Regarding JHSV and the Aluminium Industry

In follow-up to: Remember the JHSV Contract Awarded Overbudget? and JHSV Contract Awarded Well Over Budget and Aluminium and Steel Price History.

Here is a current financial report on one of the largest aluminium producers, Alcoa. (Australian video report.) These troubles should have resulted in the DoD's budgeted aluminium costs for JHSV coming down as much as 50%. Instead, what was awarded for one vessel was an effective increase in costs. How does that happen?

Aloha, Brad

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kauai Activist called it right in letter more than a year ago

Have been looking at the PUC work on this...which led me to the work of the State 'Consumer Advocate'...which mentions the market report relied upon by the PUC/CA done by Market Scope, Inc. commissioned by HSF...and also led me to the market report by Enterprise Honolulu commissioned by DBEDT and the Governor used to lobby the Legislature. Since the copy of the study done by Market Scope on the PUC and CA sites is heavily redacted (presumably it must contain matters on business 'viability' too sensitive for the financing public to see), I went looking for more information on it. One of the few things I found that mentions the Market Scope study is a GREAT testimony letter written to the Legislature more than a year ago by Kauai's own, Hope Kallai. I will be writing more in my formal post on this soon, but I just wanted to share Hope's letter now as it is the best I have seen on this and as she brings up a number of good points that I have not seen from anyone else:

From: Hope Kallai
Sent: Wed 10/24/2007 8:26 AM
To: House Record

Subject Kauai House testimony Hawaii Superferry Committee on Transportation
DATE: Thursday, October 25, 2007
Rep. Joseph M. Souki, Chair
Rep. Scott Y. Nishimoto, Vice Chair

Please distribute copies to the House members. Mahalo.

Re: HB 1 Relating to Transportation,
Hawaii Superferry,
Environmental Impact Statement,
Oversight Task Force

Hope Kallai
Malama Moloa'a

Aloha Representatives:

Mahalo for the opportunity to address the proposed bill concerning a large capacity ferry vessel. I feel there is inadequate environmental information available to make any decisions on potential impacts of the Hawaii Superferry, Inc. (HSF) to endangered species of Hawai'i, and I am very concerned about the proposed bill.

Hawai' i, the hotspot of extinctions [in the world], has more endangered species per square mile, than any other place on the planet. I am concerned about the impact to our harbors and the ability to deliver large bulk containers like gasoline, propane, aviation and helicopter fuels. I would like for you to consider if this ferry is really in the public interest.

In the Public Utilities Commission Permit Decision and Order No. 21524 ... it is stated that the: "Applicant expects its ferry service to cost about fifty (50) per cent of the price of flying," Proposed one way rates of $60 per person for a Kauai-Oahu are not 50% of existing airfares. Competitive airfares are often much less than $60. Is the PUC's assessment dependent upon correct [information]?

I have problem with a fee structure designed for 14-day old babies. Is it really in the public interest to charge children from 14-days old to 2 years old $15 for a one way Kauai-Oahu trip? PUC fee of this fare is only $0.04, GET fees of $0.60 harbor fees of 0.30, making the HSF fare $ 14.06. I don't remember being charged any airfare for a child under 2.

The Consumer Advocate had concerns over the results of a market study by Market Scope, Inc., which was commissioned by Applicant (the "Market Study"), and which results were designated confidential pursuant to Protective Order No. 21190...

In the PUC Permit Decision and Order No. 21524:

"The commission recognizes that issues were raised by some at the public hearings about the impact of the proposed ferry system on the environment and suggesting that an environmental assessment be done on the proposed ferry services.

We find it necessary, however, to condition our authorization in this docket upon Applicant's showing, to the satisfaction of the commission, that Applicant has complied with all applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations, including, without limitation, matters relating to the Environmental Impact Statement Law ("EIS"), under Chapter 343, HRS, to the extent applicable to ensure that all such requirements are appropriately addressed.

Applicant shall provide evidence that it is in full compliance with all applicable EIS, NOAA, and the U.S. Coast Guard laws, rules, regulations and requirements, and any and all other applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations and requirements that are necessary to operate its proposed ferry service within the State..." [Done at Honolulu, Hawaii, December 30, 2004, PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF HAWAII]

Applicant (Hawaii Superferry, Inc.) is not in full compliance with NEPA regulations. Is the PUC Decision dependent upon the Applicant being in full compliance with all federal laws, like NEPA?

No initiation of service should be made without National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) considerations, including Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) and Incidental Take Procedures (ITP) for every potentially impacted endangered and threatened species; low income and cultural impacts; cumulative impacts; and project alternatives and potential impacts to critical habitat areas and environmentally sensitive areas. [Authority: NEPA, the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.), Sec. 309 of the Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7609), and E.O. 11514 (Mar. 5, 1970, as amended by E.O. 11991, May 24, 1977).]

No matter what actions the state of Hawai'i takes overturning Hawai'i Revised Statutes 343, the Hawai'i Environmental Policy Act (HEPA), the National Environmental Policy Ad (NEPA) prevails and NEPA regulations must be adhered to. NEPA takes precedence over 'little NEPA' (HEPA), as has been established by case law for over thirty years. No initiation of service can be made without National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) considerations...Section 102(2) of the NEPA contains "action-forcing" provisions that ensure that federal agencies act according to the letter and the spirit of the law prior to any impacting action. The HSF is a major federal project due the federal [assistance] received by the HSF through the United Stated Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) Title XI loan [guarantee for] $139,731,000.00 to Hawaii Superferry, Inc., and NEPA must be considered in regards to all the endangered species of Hawai' i and it's waters.

MARAD had reservations about the lack of environmental scrutiny; on March 28, 2005, MARAD, in granting their Categorical Exclusion stated:

Based on the information available at that time, there appeared to have been very little, if any, NEPA or state environmental work performed related to the proposed ferry service that would be adequate for MARAD's responsibilities under NEPA.

But, [MARAD] based their Categorical Exclusion on the [illegal] Hawaii state Categorical Exemption issued by Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), qualifying that:

MAR-820 recommends that the loan guarantee contract contain the requirement that Hawaiian High Speed Ferry (HSF) Corporation comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.

Serious consideration needs to be given to the validity of the MARAD Categorical Exclusion that was based on the Hawaii State Department of Transportation Categorical Exemption, since the ruling No. 27407 of the Hawaii Supreme Court on August 31, 2007, invalidates the state DOT Categorical Exemption. Shouldn't the MARAD Categorical Exclusion [also be reversed]?:

Sec. 1502.3 Statutory requirements for (EIS) statements.
As required by Sec. 102(2)(C) of N 8). Significantly (Sec. 1508.27). Affecting (Secs. 1508.3, 1508.8). The quality of the human environment (Sec. 1508.14)...
(d) Environmental impact statements shall state how alternatives considered in it and decisions based on it will or will not achieve the requirements of sections 101 and 102(1) of the Act and other environmental laws and policies.
(e) The range of alternatives discussed in environmental impact statements shall encompass those to be considered by the ultimate agency decision maker.
(f) Agencies shall not commit resources prejudicing selection of alternatives before making a final decision (Sec. 1506.1).

In Hawaii Superferry: Commitments and Actions to Address Environmental Concerns, prepared for Hawaii Superferry, Inc., February 2007 by CH2M Hill, there are no comments included by any wildlife agencies. It is stated that the DAR of DLNR was contacted in 2006, but no comments were specified. I'm not sure why Aquatic Resources, not Marine Resources, was contacted, but Kauai Aquatic Resources was not asked for input to potential impact to Huleia River (per D. Heacock, pers.comm.). Page 24 of Hawaii Superferry: Commitments and Actions to Address Environmental Concerns, includes:

3.10 Agency Consultation
As mentioned throughout this document, agencies were consulted by HSF for applicable

That's all. This is horribly inadequate and does not satisfy NEPA requirements.

The only wildlife species mentioned in the document are migratory humpbacked whales, Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles, but no contributing agency input. There are many other whale species afforded endangered species protection and other listed sea turtles. There is no mention of potential impacts to endangered and migratory birds. Potential impacts to all federally listed threatened and endangered plant and animal species must be given full consideration under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before any potentially impacting action is taken. Section 7 consultation must begin with federal wildlife agencies.

Potential impacts to federally-listed threatened and endangered plant and algae species by introduction of invasive species of plants and animals is monumental and must be considered on an island-by-island basis due to the unique biological diversity of each island and cumulatively, to the entire state. Introduction of mongoose to sensitive habitats for ground nesting birds could have population extinction potential.

NEPA consideration of potential impacts to threatened and endangered Hawaiian species must include: 'Alae'ula, Hawaiian moorhen, (Gallinula chloropus sanvicensis); 'Alae ke 'oke '0, Hawaiian coot, (Fulica alai); 'Ae'0, Hawaiian stilt, (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni); Koloa maoli, Hawaiian duck, (Anas wyvilliana); Nene, Hawaiian goose, (Branta sandvicensis); 'Ua'u, Dark rumped petrel, (Pterodroma phaeopygia sandwichensis); 'A'0, Newell's shearwater, (Pufinus auricularis newelii); 'alala, Hawaiian Crow, (Corvus hawaiiensis); Band-rumped storm petrel, (Oceanodroma castro); Manu o ku, White tern, (Gygis alba rothschildi); 'io, Hawaiian hawk, (Buteo solitarius); Short-tailed albatross, (Phoebastria albastrus); 'akohekohe, Crested Honeycreeper, (Palmeria dolei); Nihoa Millerbird, (Acrocephalus familiaris kinqi); Kauai Nukupu'u, Kauai nukupu'u, (Hemignathus lucidus hanapepe); Maui Nukupu'u, Maui nukupu'u, (Hemignathus lucidus affinis); '0'o 'a'a, Kauai '0'o, (Moho braccatus); '0'u o'u (Psittirostra psittacea); Palila, palila, (Loxioides bailleui); Maui Parrotbill, (Pseudonestor xanthophrys); Po'ouli, po'ouli, (Melamprosops phaeosoma); Oloma'o, Molokai Thrush, (Myadestes lanaiensis rutha); Kama'o, Large Kauai Thrush, (Myadestes myadestinus), Puaiohi, Small Kauai Thrush, (Myadestes palmeri); ilio holo i ka uaua, Hawaiian monk seal, (Monachus schauinslandi); Kohola Humpback whale, (Megaptera novaeangliae); Sperm whale, (Physeter macrocephalus); Blue whale, (Balaenoptera musculus); Fin whale, (Balaenoptera physalus); Sei whale, (Balaenoptera borealis); North Pacific right whale, (Eubalaena japonica); Olive ridley turtle, (Lepidochelys olivacea); Leatherback turtle, (Dermochelys coriacea); Loggerhead turtle, (Caretta caretta); Honu 'ea, Hawksbill turtle, (Eretmochelys imbricate); Honu, Green sea turtle, (Chelonia mydas); and the 'Ope'ape'a, Hawaiian Hoary bat, (Lasiurus cinereus semotus).

The following birds are offered protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act: Eurasian Skylark, (Alauda arvensis); House Finch, (Carpodacus mexicanus); Northern Cardinal, (Cardinalis cardinalis); Kolea, Pacific Golden Plove, (Pluvialis fulva); Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, (Oceanodroma castro); White-tailed Tropicbird, (Phaethon lepturus); Wandering Tattler, (Heteroscelus incanus); Bristle-thighed Curlew, (Numenius tahitiensis); Pueo, Hawaiian Shorteared Owl, (Asio flammeus sandwichensis).

The Hawaiian archipelago is home to 22 species of breeding seabirds, three of which are endemic to the islands. Presently 75 % of known Hawaiian seabirds are extinct or threatened with extinction and listed on the Federal Endangered Species List (USFWS 1985). Island seabird populations have been declining worldwide. Seabirds within the Hawaiian archipelago are vital to a well-balanced marine ecosystem.

The following sea birds are found in Hawaiian waters: Moli; Laysan albatross, (Phoebastria immutabilis); Black footed albatross, (Phoebastria nigripes); 'A, Brown booby, (Sula leucogaster); 'A, Masked booby, (Sula dactylatra); 'A or Mahi, Red-footed booby, (Sula sula), 'Iwa, Great frigate, (Fregata minor); Black noody, (Anous stolidus pileatus); Noio koha, Brown noddy, (Anous minutus); Blue noddy, (Procelsterna cerulean); 'Ou, Bulwer's petrel, (Bulweria bulwerii); Bonin petrel, (Pterodroma hypoleuca); Christmas shearwater, (Puffinus nativitatis); 'Ua'u kani, Wedge-tailed shearwater, (Puffinus pacificus), 'Ewa 'ewa, Sooty tern, (Sterna fuscata); Koae 'ula, Red-tailed Tropicbird, (Phaethon rubricauda); and Koa e ke'o, White tailed Tropicbird, (Phaethon lepturus dorotheae) should also be considered [for protection].

In Act 2 SECTION 3 (4) it is stated that "operation of large capacity ferry vessels is declared to be a required public convenience and necessity." It is not a required public convenience and necessity. Hawai'i has never before used a large capacity ferry vessel. It cannot be a required public necessity, never having been in existence [or needed] here before.

SECTION 3 (6) states that "construction, use or operation of any facilities shall not be subject to or require any county permits or approvals." Why is construction being allowed without following county building codes and permit processes?

SECTION 4 (a) As a condition precedent to the rights conferred by section 3 of this Act, the governor shall impose, by means of an executive order, and without regard to Chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or any other provision of law, conditions and protocols on a large capacity ferry vessel company's inter-island operations to mitigate significant environmental effects that the governor determines...

Downright scary. Nothing the governor does can absolve her or the state of NEPA requirements and obligations.

The HSF has daily trips planned between Oahu and Kauai, with a second daily trip expected to be added. Cruise ships have been making daily calls at Nawiliwili Harbor, sometimes two at a time. Kaua'i is dependent upon shipments of gasoline, propane, aviation and helicopter fuels and many other bulk containers flammable and hazardous. If a large vessel of propane or gasoline cannot be in port at the same time as a large passenger vessel, when can Kauai get bulk deliveries of fuels? Have we created an exclusive [gated] economic zone [for the benefit of one company] in our harbors?

In Act 2 Part IV, SECTION 12 (a), the department of transportation is authorized to establish a temporary large capacity ferry vessel oversight task force. Suggested makeup of the taskforce does not include any wildlife official (the BLNR member is not necessarily a wildlife appointee). Qualified state and federal wildlife endangered species agencies should be included, like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Pacific Marine Fisheries and Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources endangered species specialists and the invasive species committees of each island.

The temporary oversight taskforce shall meet monthly, commencing with December 2007. With service attempted to begin in late October 2007, that would mean a 60-day gap in impact reporting or invasive species transfer. That is unacceptable. Where is the monitoring mandated? The temporary oversight task force is scheduled to submit a final report of its findings and recommendations to the legislature and governor no later than 20 days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2009. 2009! ! ! Entirely unacceptable.

The Hawaii Superferry, Inc. has operated as an errant vendor of our ports, and has not followed all environmental procedures. Improvements to our port facilities are not wasted and can perhaps be better used by a vendor that would be environmentally more respectful of state and federal laws and not cause so much trouble and litigation encumbrances. Perhaps an inter-island passenger ferry system would be a more environmentally sensitive start. If the speed of the proposed HSF and the invasive species transfer by vehicle transport are the most critical issues, has any compromise been considered by HSF? Is this the kind of privatization of our port services that we, as a state, really need? Do we really need a superfast, superferry?

Many companies operate with consideration to HEPA and NEPA; those that do not should not be offered special consideration. The Hawaii Speedferry, Inc. should not be allowed to begin operation without NEPA considerations. HEPA must not be overturned or compromised...Please follow the letter and intent of HEPA and NEPA and protect the endangered species of Hawai'i.

I also have concerns about the sustainability of the Hawaii Superferry project. The Superferry claims it is more environmentally friendly than air travel, but is burning an expected 5,600 gallons of diesel fuel per trip really sustainable? The Superferry gets only 0.02 miles per gallon, so, even with 800 passengers that is still only 16 passenger-miles per gallon or at the average projected 400 passengers per trip 8 passenger miles per gallon. Hawaiian Airlines flies 115 people on its Boeing 717s. They operate with a fuel efficiency of 0.44 miles per gallon. That comes to 50 passenger miles per gallon, or three times the people moving efficiency of a full Superferry, 6 times the people moving efficiency of a half-full Superferry.

Australia has just begun a real alternative ferry system of hybrid powered ferry vessels with solar panels ( and a state-of-the-art 600 passenger solar and wind powered hybrid electric ferry named Miss Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor is being constructed in partnership with Australia's Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd. This ship is like a hybrid car; it determines the most efficient combination of energy sources for the moment: wind, solar, electric battery, or fossil fuels (diesel). It is designed to emit zero emissions at slow speeds. This ferry's maximum speed of 13 knots would be more whale friendly, and not carrying cars would be more environmentally acceptable [to the Neighbor Islands].

In Summary:

-NEPA consultation must begin immediately with qualified state and federal agencies on all the endangered species of Hawai'i potentially impacted with this new mode of high speed travel, as mandated by law. HSF must adhere to NEPA.

-Qualified federal and state agency endangered species and wildlilfe biologists must be included on the temporary large capacity ferry vessel oversight taskforce committee.

-Agency monitoring and more rapid reporting/response time must be mandated as part of this new law. The Governor [and Legislature] should not wait until 2009 to be informed of the status of impacts.

-The status of the MARAD Categorical Exclusion must be reevaluated since the revocation of the Hawai'i DOT Categorical Exemption.

-Please reevaluate the Public Utilities Commission Permit Decision and Order No. 21524 and reconsider if the Hawai'i Superferry, Inc. is truly in the public interest, need and necessity and if [that was based on accurate economic and market analysis].

-Please reconsider a fee structure charging 14-day old babies.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. These decisions you are making will affect many generations of our grandchildren and their quality of life in these islands.

Hope Kallai
Kauai, HI

Now I know where the idea for the Rapid Risk Assessment came from, among the many good points in this letter,
Aloha, Brad

Act 2 and the Pseudo-Draft 'EIS'...What to do Next

While we wait for the Hawaii State Supreme Court decision on Act 2:

Just got a call from a knowledgeable person on this subject. That person told me people are waiting on my analysis of the Act 2 'EIS'. That made me realize I need to clarify what I'm doing.

Right now I am deep into about 10 legal documents, statutes, and market studies from mostly back in 2004, that did not properly analyze the market nor oceangoing conditions for an interisland ferry, and thus did not determine a true public need, and how Act 2 further manipulates that away from fact. That will be the last main part in my "Act 2: A Closed Class of One (Part 5)," and I hope to finish it tomorrow.

I also need to finish Parts 2 and 3 (of 3) reviews of the book out now on this subject. Will do that later.

And then there are my own comments on the Act 2 'EIS'. Because I am told people are waiting on that, I need to explain what I plan to do and what I recommend for others based upon a careful reading of Act 2 Part III which deals with this pseudo-'EIS's creation.

First, the public comments are not due until February 23, 2009 (I'm recommending people submit their finished written and documented comments the last week before Feb. 23rd). Based upon content that showed up in both the OTF Final Report and the Act 2 Draft 'EIS' and because DOT/Belt Collins will be on a tight schedule, I was not going to make public my comments on the 'EIS' until less than a week before the submission deadline. Based on the feedback today, though, I am going to change that and seek to e-mail to people I know my comments within the next 21 days, and then post my final comments here less than a week before the Feb. 23rd deadline.

As for my recommendations to people, first, I recommend reading the 'EIS' Vol. 1 only, for yourself, and because there are so many inaccuracies, false assumptions, false information, and unaddressed subject matter in it on almost every page, I recommend you highlight and maybe make notes on it as you go. After people have read through the whole thing, individuals might want to focus in on certain aspects that they know best and can document the shortcomings of the Draft 'EIS' and research and recommend corrections, solutions, or logical 'no action.' There are so many flaws in this document, I think it makes sense for individuals to focus in on what they know best or are most interested in and really develop that.

By the content of Act 2 Part III, DOT/Belt Collins will have to respond to all substantive written comments that they receive. Your goal is to force them to have to respond to and maybe even include your comments, ideas, recommendations in the Final Draft 'EIS'. The more people who submit specific documented substantive written comments that DOT/Belt Collins has to respond to, the better. You will be sending a copy of your comments to both DOT and to the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC), so if you send something substantive to OEQC, DOT/Belt Collins will be forced to take the time to assess it and respond to it. DOT/Belt Collins then has to submit the Final Draft to OEQC, and OEQC can either accept or reject this Act 2 'EIS' by the sunset deadline of about July 6th.

DOT/Belt Collins can consult with OEQC before submitting the Final Draft, but once they have submitted it, the OEQC will need at least a few weeks (maybe a month) to either reject it (which most people doubt they would do) or accept it. If OEQC rejects it, DOT/Belt Collins would have to go through a Revised Draft 'EIS' process again, which there would likely not be time to do because of the time that DOT/Belt Collins have already wasted. So, the public's goal might be to get more logical, documented, and detailed critique of this Draft 'EIS' to OEQC than DOT/Belt Collins can possibly evaluate and incorporate into a thorough and complete Final Draft on time. Because of the timing factor involved, I'm recommending that everybody submit their finished written and documented comments not until the last week before Feb. 23rd.

This should be a tag-team affair. I'll do my part, but what it really requires is everybody concerned reading the Draft 'EIS' Vol. 1 for themselves, highlighting and making notes on it, and picking some key points of your own from it to document and contest. People who are on my mailing list will get a copy of my comments in about 3 to 4 weeks, but don't wait for that.

All of this will change if the State Supreme Court strikes down Act 2 soon, which I am hoping for, or if the Legislature is 'man-handled' again by Lingle into pushing back the sunset date of Act 2 which her DOT recommended recently in the OTF Final Report. I fully expect the Lingle Administration to try any shinanigans they can get away with until the State Supreme Court puts a stop to it.

Aloha, Brad

Friday, January 9, 2009

Other Hawaii Blogs' Observations on the Act 2 Pseudo-'EIS'

Three excellent blogs today on this, 2 from Kauai and one from Hilo.

Joan Conrow writes about the minimal language and standards of this type of EIS commenting on many quotes already from the document at:

Musings: No Worries
As any thinking person would have predicted, the newly released draft EIS for the Hawaii Superferry has determined that the big boat is likely to cause some significant direct and indirect impacts on the Islands. It also comes as no surprise that these impacts are the same ones that opponents have been citing all along: invasive species, traffic, depletion of resources, whale collisions, harbor congestion, degraded cultural resources, worsened air quality. But as those who are familiar with the EIS process know, it is not the finding of impacts that matter...What really matters is the mitigations, and after 20+ years, I haven’t yet run into an EIS that has identified impacts that can’t be rest of post here.

Here was my response to Joan's post:

Excellent review! Joan, you mention the standard techniques employed in an EIS, and that basically they assume environmental degradation and decline. That may be something that is acceptable in a big city, but creaping environmental degradation is NOT acceptable on a unique environmental island like Kauai whose whole identity including for economic purposes is dependent upon the environment being maintained at an exquisite level like few other places in the world. That's what people here and visitors from around the world want Kauai to be. They don't want Kauai to fall into creeping environmental degradation as is implicitly accepted by the Act 2 DOT/Belt Collins pseudo-'EIS'.

Ken Stokes writes about what I will call the fudged CO2 emissions and population data used by Belt Collins at:

HI superferry EIS: old tools shed little light on sustainability
As expected, the Superferry EIS provides recommended mitigation measures for everything except the passionate opposition to the Superferry by some Kaua’i residents (via HNLadvertiser). Sadly, the crucial emissions data provided is of little use, due to methodological vagaries...The EIS does provide estimates of the overall GHG emissions (86,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents) , yet we find no overall number for the “load factor.” Cargo tons, vehicles, and passengers are projected for 2 time periods, and details are provided for each type of emission at each harbor, yet it is not obvious what the total tonnage would be, nor how the emission figures sum to the GHG total. Without these summary measures, we cannot compare HSF operations to other forms of transport. Ideally, we would have measures of MTCO2e per passenger-mile and per ton-mile. (And never mind that these are tough to calculate for boats with both cargo and passengers…that’s wot I tho’t we were paying for.)....

Who knows whether it’s worth quibbling with the specifics in this EIS. For example, the forecasted net increase of 237 in Kauai’s ‘defacto’ population is benchmarked against old numbers that take into account neither the recent declines in inter-island air travel, nor the projected declines in visitor traffic....

BTW, I agree with Joan Conrow that this document is framed with the “no worries” language of mitigation-ese…yet we knew to expect that, going in. And I agree with Brad Parsons that this document should have the anti-copying security turned off, so that it can be more readily dissected.

Janice Crowl a gardener from Hilo writes about invasive species that this pseudo-'EIS' takes a pass on:

Superferry in the Garden
Love it or hate it, one thing is certain about the Superferry: It spreads invasive species. That has always been obvious to me, and many nursery owners, prior to the Superferry launch, even though operations began without a draft environmental impact statement.

Now that the draft EIS has finally been made available, what’s it all mean? Well, it could possibly mean that all those tax dollars were spent on building up something that may just prove too costly to operate anyway. It could fizzle out, investors pack up, and we would get stuck with the bill and a further degraded, shrinking native environment.

Gardeners take note: The gorgeous non-native Mtssa. Dark Star 'Orchidworks' above is not an invasive species. However, imported potted ornamental plants, probably palms, are how coqui frogs and little fire ants first hitchhiked to Hawai'i, and undoubtedly it became easier to spread these invasive species via potted plants transported interisland through the Superferry. It takes some doing to smuggle a potted plant aboard an interisland airline – not as easy as macadmia-nut shortbread cookies. By law, the plant has to be inspected; if it passes, it gets a sticker. Federal inspectors from the USDA are usually stationed at airline terminals and check only plant material going on flights between the mainland or abroad, whereas the Hawaii state Dept. of Agriculture is a separate office and inspects only items going interisland. Supposedly, invasive plants aren’t allowed on the Superferry, and any plant going onboard has to be inspected by the Hawaii DOA.

What I’d like to know is, who is monitoring the Superferry dock now, and how thorough are they really? On an airline, potted plants are considered baggage; logistically, you’re limited to transporting just a few pots. However, if, say, Mr. Plantfreak wanted to do some serious nursery shopping on a neighbor island he could load up a car, truck, or van with many more potted plants and drive right onto the Superferry with his booty, possibly for even less than what he’d have to pay a regular shipper. He doesn’t even have to be a certified grower. Compost this: Does the DOA inspect every plant? Does Superferry check the back of every car, truck and van? Or does that just slow loading down way too much? A commercial entity, Superferry wants government agencies to be responsible for inspections and foot the bill for the measures to prevent the spread of invasives. As if there’s piles of money in the public coffers for such things. I don’t know about you, but that just makes an organic gardener like me ponder the inevitability of having to buy little fire ant poison. [Actually, I know from experience elsewhere in the world, fire ant poison does not work.--Ed.]

Two fairly good mainstream media articles reporting on the Act 2 Pseudo-'EIS' at:

"Study reveals ups, downs of ferry-related harbor projects"
By Christie Wilson Honolulu Advertiser January 9, 2009

"Draft EIS reveals ferry impacts"
By Coco Zickos The Garden Island News January 9, 2009

And lastly, a poignant letter to the editor in the Kauai paper on January 9, 2009:

Ferry not fit for Kaua‘i
I wish to complete Mr. Tolbe’s letter published Dec. 15. If the stupidferry were here today, career thieves from O‘ahu could casually rob Mr. Tolbe’s home with ease and care and carry all the loot back to O‘ahu on the ferry.

Pedophiles could take a Kaua‘i child, drug them and hide them on their vehicle and steal them to O‘ahu. Professional armed robbers could easily hold up a bank and/or liquor store and get away cleanly. Rude and foul-talking motorist from the other islands could curse at us for going so slow because Kaua‘i drivers obey the 50 mph speed limit.

KPD could be overwhelmed by the problems of traffic and crime. A smart drug dealer could easily bring his drugs first to Kaua‘i, then smuggle them aboard the stupidferry to O‘ahu without worry of any security checks on this side of the Pacific.

Gee, I haven’t even mentioned one single issue dealing with the environment.

No, Mr. Tolbe, the only thing keeping you from seeing your relatives during the holidays is your decision not to dig a bit deeper into your pocket for a ticket on a system that secures the safety and tranquility of our beloved island.

• Eduardo Valenciana, Lihu‘e

Aloha, Brad