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Hawai‘i Awarded Nearly $4 Million in Federal Grants to Study Alternative Transportation Funding Methods

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $3.998 million in competitive grant funding to the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) as part of the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program. The grant will allow the HDOT Highways Division to study and explore alternative methods of funding state and county transportation systems in the future.

Surface Transportation“Trends toward more fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars have a significant impact on transportation funding in Hawaiʻi because of our current reliance on the gas tax as a transportation funding mechanism,” said Gov. David Ige. “While I encourage the move away from fossil fuels as part of our commitment to a clean energy future, the resulting lower consumption reduces the funds available for highways projects. Moving forward, we need to explore new ways to fund our state highway system. We are thankful for FHWA’s commitment to help Hawaiʻi confront this challenge.”

HDOT Highways Division plans to use the $3.998 million grant to study alternatives to the gas tax by working with county and state officials and stakeholders to design new systems to obtain highways funding. These systems will then be tested with Hawaiʻi residents and visitors. One example of an alternative funding mechanism is road maintenance fees based on the number of miles driven, similar to how electric or water utilities are metered.

“Our goal is to design a system for highways funding that is fair, transparent, and easy to use for the public,” said Ford Fuchigami, director, Hawai‘i Department of Transportation. “We will continue to work toward creating a sustainable funding source for the many projects we have, to address the care and maintenance of Hawaiʻi roads.”

Dwindling gas tax revenues is a national problem. Congress created the grant program so that states can study alternatives that will help the federal government restore solvency to the Federal Highway Trust Fund. For Federal Fiscal Year 2016, a total of $15 million in STSFA funds were granted to states on a competitive basis.

Matson to Build Two New Con-Ro Ships For Hawaii Service

Matson, Inc. today announced that its subsidiary, Matson Navigation Company, Inc., a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, has signed a contract with General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, to build two new combination container and roll-on/roll-off (“Con-Ro”) vessels for its Hawaii fleet at a contract price of $511 million for both vessels with deliveries scheduled for the end of 2019 and mid-year 2020.

Artist rendering of Matson Kanaloa Class vessel. Courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO

Artist rendering of Matson Kanaloa Class vessel. Courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO

Matson is calling these vessels the Kanaloa Class in honor of the ocean deity revered in the native Hawaiian culture and will name each of the new vessels after predecessor ships from its 134-year history.  The first vessel will be named Lurline, the sixth Matson vessel to carry that name, while the second vessel will be its fifth named Matsonia.

The Kanaloa Class vessels will be built on a 3,500 TEU vessel platform, which is 265 meters long, 34.9 meters wide (beam), with a deep draft of 11.5 meters and enclosed garage space for up to 800 vehicles.  In addition, the new vessels will have state-of-the-art green technology features, including a fuel efficient hull design, environmentally safe double hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and dual-fuel engines, meaning that they will be able to operate at speeds up to 23 knots on either conventional fuel oils or liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) with some adaptation for LNG.  These advancements are important to Hawaii as a means to reduce fuel consumption, and will result in significant emissions reductions over time.

The two Kanaloa Class ships will replace three diesel powered vessels in active service, which will be moved to reserve status.  With delivery of the Kanaloa Class ships, along with its two new Aloha Class ships, Matson will have completed the renewal of its Hawaii fleet, allowing it to retire its seven older steamship vessels that will no longer comply with environmental regulations in 2020 without substantial modification.

The larger capacity of the Aloha Class and Kanaloa Class vessels will allow Matson to return to an optimal nine-ship fleet deployment in Hawaii, increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs.  The Kanaloa Class vessels are expected to be more fuel efficient than the ships they will replace and will add rolling stock carrying capacity while lowering operating, repair and maintenance, and dry-docking costs.

“This vessel order underscores Matson’s long-standing commitment to serve Hawaii with the largest, most reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly fleet for the long-term,” said Matt Cox, president and CEO.  “The Kanaloa Class ships will be built specifically to meet Hawaii’s freight demands while reducing our environmental impact and improving our efficiency for decades to come.”

Matson expects to finance the Kanaloa Class vessels primarily through cash flows from operations, borrowing available under the Company’s unsecured revolving credit facility and additional debt financings, which could include U.S. Government guaranteed vessel finance bonds (Title XI).

Hawaii State Highway Bonds Sale Secures $247 Million, Saves State More Than $22 Million

On Aug. 10, 2016, the State of Hawai‘i successfully sold $204.485 million in Highway Revenue Bonds at the lowest interest rate in the history of the state’s Highway Revenue Bond Program. The sale raised $247.581 million.

Highways DivisionApproximately $120 million of the bond sale proceeds will be used to fund various highway projects throughout the state and about $127 million of the proceeds will be used to refinance existing state bonds. The refinancing will reduce debt service payments and save more than $22 million in interest costs.

“This financing is a tremendous success for the state, enabling continued investment in our infrastructure at a very affordable borrowing cost,” said Gov. David Ige. The low interest rates achieved demonstrate bond investors’ confidence in Hawai‘i’s economic strength and its continued practice of sound fiscal management. This is the result of years of discipline and conservative fiscal management.”

Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service and Fitch Ratings affirmed the state’s strong bond ratings of “Aa2”, “AA+” and “AA,” respectively. Each rating agency also attached “stable” outlooks on their ratings, indicating secure future economic and financial trends for Hawai‘i. Rating agencies cited the stability and diversity of revenue streams that are pledged as security for the bonds, as one of the key strengths of the credit.  Other strengths cited include strong legal provisions, high debt service coverage, and stable revenue trends, particularly in those sectors that are less reliant on economic activity.

The marketing plan for the bonds included investor presentations, both in-person in Hawai‘i and on the mainland, as well as internet-based presentations and conference calls. The extended marketing generated strong demand for the bonds from institutional investors.

There was very strong demand for the bonds by both Hawai‘i and national investors. Orders for the bonds amounted to 4.5 times the amount available for sale. The strong demand resulted in net interest rates on the bonds that ranged from 0.50 to 2.50 percent, with the average net interest rate less than 2.25 percent. This is the lowest rate the state has achieved since starting the Highway Revenue Bond Program in 1993.

“The success of the recent bond sale and the low interest rate on the offering is due in no small part to the hard work of the Highways Division in adhering to its sound fiscal and debt management policies,” said Ford Fuchigami, director, Hawai‘i  Department of Transportation. “We are extremely pleased with the demand for the bonds and the needed infusion of capital the Highways Division will receive from the sale.”

The bonds were sold by a financing team led by Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, serving as book-running senior manager and Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Securities, serving as co-senior managers.

Island Air Expands College Student Standby Program

As Hawai‘i college students start the new semester, they can look forward to their next interisland getaway with Island Air’s expanded College Student Standby Program. Students enrolled in Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU), Chaminade University of Honolulu and Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i (BYUH) now have the opportunity to stand by for any Island Air interisland flight for the student-friendly price of just $45* each way.

Island Air PlaneIsland Air launched its college standby fares last October as a pilot program available to students enrolled at University of Hawai‘i (UH) schools and community colleges on O‘ahu and Maui. As Island Air added routes to Līhu‘e and Kona, the standby program was expanded to include all universities and community colleges in the UH system. The program’s popularity among UH students, along with growing requests from students at other Hawai‘i universities led Island Air to extend the standby fares to HPU, Chaminade and BYUH students.

To qualify for the College Student Standby rate, students must present a valid University of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Pacific University, Chaminade University or Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i student identification to a customer service agent at any Island Air ticket counter. There is no maximum number of times a student may participate in the offer.

“As an island business, we support our students who are pursuing their higher education goals, and we want to make traveling interisland more convenient and affordable for them,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “We know the importance of getting away from hitting the books for a little exploration or taking some time to visit family and friends. We hope students will take advantage of this opportunity and ‘Fly the Island Way’.”

*$45 is a standby rate, subject to seat availability and can be changed without notice.  Fare includes one (1) federal transportation segment tax and one (1) security fee.  Other taxes, fees, and restrictions may apply.

ABOUT ISLAND AIR

Island Air is the value leader in the Hawaiian Islands, offering 238 convenient flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. The affordable alternative for interisland travel, Island Air’s 64-seat ATR-72 aircraft are able to provide captivating aerial views of Hawai‘i’s remarkable landscapes. Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, the company was renamed Island Air in 1992 and has been proudly serving the islands of Hawai‘i for more than 35 years.

For more information about Island Air or to make a reservation, visit www.islandair.com or call (800) 652-6541. Let us know how we are doing on Yelp or TripAdvisor or just stay connected by liking Island Air on Facebook at www.facebook.com/islandairhawaii, or follow @IslandAirHawaii on Twitter and @IslandAir_Hawaii on Instagram.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Māmalahoa Hwy at Nāpo‘opo‘o Junction, Kona

Work continues on the County of Hawai‘i’s highway intersection improvement project this weekend. One lane of Māmalahoa Highway will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21 to allow Hawaiian Telcom to relocate overhead cables to newly placed utility poles near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway and Nāpo‘opo‘o Road in Kona.

A section of the new Mamalahoa Highway.  Photo by Aaron Stene

A section of the new Mamalahoa Highway. Photo by Aaron Stene

Traffic control will be on site to assist with traffic flow and to assure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution. Work is weather-permitting and is subject to change.  Hawaiian Telcom and The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns please call Barett Otani, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Coast Guard Responds to Vessel Taking on Water Off Maui, Death Off Big Island, Busy Weekend

Coast Guard Station Maui personnel responded to a report of a commercial vessel with 21 people aboard taking on water off Maui Sunday.

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew arrived on scene five miles south of Maalaea and verified the crew of the 43-foot Maka Koa had the situation in hand before escorting the vessel back to port.

It was determined the vessel was taking on water around their shaft and has since been removed from the water to receive repairs and inspections before returning to service.

Maka Koa

“The Maka Koa crew was very professional and effective in their casualty response,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester, a crewman aboard the Station Maui RB-M. “Upon arrival we confirmed the vessel’s installed bilge pumps were keeping up with the leak and provided a standby until they reached port. We applaud the operators quick action identifying the problem and alerting us to what could have become a more severe case.”

Coast Guard crews responded to eight search and rescue and marine safety cases between Friday and Sunday.

Friday, the Coast Guard responded to a possible hoax call resulting from an email sent by a member of the public seeking employment with the Coast Guard. The individual ultimately apologized for the action. No Coast Guard assets were launched for the case. The public is reminded that hoax calls are against the law and can divert resources from necessary search and rescue or other operations. Those found guilty of committing a hoax call may receive fines or jail time.

Also, Friday the crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky a mile south of Honolulu.

USCGC Galveston Island

USCGC Galveston Island

As a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations the Galveston Island crew terminated the crew’s voyage and escorted the vessel to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by personnel from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu to address all discrepancies are ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Coast Guard marine investigators in Maui are responding to the reported death of a diver Friday. The operator of a commercial vessel notified the Coast Guard of the incident involving a middle-aged man who became distressed while conducting a night dive off Big Island. The crew of the vessel recovered the man and contacted emergency medical services who met them at Honokohau Marina. He was transferred to Kona Hospital.

Hawaii is home to 340 small passenger vessels, 139 of which support snorkel and dive operations. Such incidents are reportable marine casualties under the Code of Federal Regulations and after addressing the immediate issue the master is required to notify the Coast Guard.

Saturday crews from Station Maui and the Maui Fire Department responded to a report of an adrift pool toy 200-yards off Kaanapali. The toy was located and recovered. Maui Fire Department resources and a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin crew conducted searches in the area to ensure no one was in distress. The case was closed.

Also, Saturday the crew of the Galveston Island conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Jennifer Lynn near Honolulu. The crew’s voyage was terminated and they were escorted back to port as a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will address all discrepancies and ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Sunday crews in Kauai responded to a report of an overdue vessel. It was reported that a 26-yeear-old man had departed Mahaulepa Beach Saturday to fish and failed to return.

Coast Guard Station Kauai, Air Station Barbers Point and the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336) were launched to respond. Kauai Fire Department personnel also searched. Shortly after launching assets Kauai police located the man ashore and well in Ahukini Park.

Also Sunday, the Coast Guard received notification of a 60-year-old Japanese citizen who experienced symptoms of a heart attack while snorkeling off a commercial vessel on the west side of Oahu. The man was transferred to shore and met by emergency medical personnel who took him to Queen’s Medical Center. Again, such incidents are not uncommon and the operators of commercial vessels report occurrences to the Coast Guard in line with the requirements for inspected commercial vessels. Coast Guard investigators from Sector Honolulu are reviewing the case.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to meet and maintain safety requirements and plan ahead for voyages. At the first sign of distress contact the Coast Guard.

Traffic Alert: Oceanic Time Warner Cable Utility Relocation Work at Nāpo‘opo Road

As part of the Nāpō‘opo‘o Road and Māmalahoa Highway Intersection Improvement Project, beginning on Monday, August 15, 2016, Oceanic Time Warner Cable will be relocating overhead cables to newly placed utility poles near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway and Nāpo‘opo‘o Road in Kona.

One lane of Māmalahoa Highway will be closed to traffic from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. throughout the week of August 15 through August 19 and August 22 through August 26, 2016.

Traffic control will be on site to assist with traffic flow and to assure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution. Work is weather-permitting and is subject to change. Oceanic Time Warner Cable thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Wayne Iokepa at (808) 331-4919 or Barett Otani, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Hawaii’s Hokulea Crew Encounters New Sailing Conditions

Hokulea, Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe, encountered new sailing conditions on Thursday morning: thick fog that hovered above the ocean during the crew’s early morning sail from Salem, Massachusetts to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

hokulea morning fog

The Hokulea crew had little to no visibility of the horizon during the first couple of hours of the sail – a rare weather situation for the worldwide voyage. Eventually, the fog cleared up at around 10:00 a.m. ET and Hokulea was back on track to her next destination: the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

hokulea morning fog2

From there, the Hokulea crew will sail to Rhode Island early Friday morning, where the canoe will be docked for a few days. In line with delivering the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage’s message of taking care of Island Earth by engaging with new communities they meet throughout the voyage, crew members will be conducting canoe tours for the public at Rhode Island this Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET.

Hokulea Morning fog3

The crew plans to continue educational engagements in the US New England states as Hokulea sails back down to New York.

County Reschedules Resurfacing Work on Kekuanao’a Street

The County Highway Maintenance Division has rescheduled resurfacing work on Kekūanāo’a St. between Hīnano St. and Kīlauea Ave. to begin on Wednesday, August 10, 2016.

kekuanoaTropical Storm Darby and unexpected construction constraints had an effect on the project and the County Highways Division is doing their very best to complete the project on August 17, 2016.  Working hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone.  One lane closures, alternate lane closures, lane shifts will be in effect and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.  The lane closures are necessary to complete the roadway resurfacing work in a timely manner and for the safety of the workers and the traveling public.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist at 961-8787.

Panaewa Car Accident on Highway 11

A car accident at the turn off to the Panaewa Zoo is slowing traffic down on Highway 11 right now.

Panaewa wreck

Photo via Hugh Broughton

Alaska Airlines Beginning Weekly Service Between Kona and Bellingham

Passengers flying out of Bellingham International Airport (BLI) will have convenient access to some of Hawaii’s best snorkeling and the world-famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park starting Nov. 12 when Alaska Airlines begins new weekly service between Bellingham and Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new service compliments the airline’s seasonal service from BLI to Maui which is set to begin on Nov. 6.

“The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the top rated travel destinations in the world and we are delighted Alaska Airlines is going to provide our customers with non-stop service to this incredible location,” said Sunil Harman, aviation director.  “Alaska Airlines is offering very competitive fares and we anticipate high demand for these flights.”

Alaska Airlines is offering one-way fares to Kona starting at $219.  The flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 147 in the main cabin.

Big Island Police Investigating Hit-and-Run Accident in Kalapana

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a hit-and-run accident late Wednesday night (August 3) in the Kalapana area.
Kalapana Painted Church
Puna District police officers responded to an 11:11 p.m. report of a vehicle-pedestrian accident on Highway 130 in Kalapana. A 32-year-old Keaʻau man was reportedly struck by a mini-van while on the side of the road inspecting his stalled vehicle fronting the painted church in Kalapana.

The van sped away in the Pāhoa direction. It was described as light blue.

The victim was taken to Hilo Medical Center and later transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Tristen Allen at 965-2716.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Two Die in Two-Car Crash After Auto Theft and Kidnapping Incident Reported

A man and a woman in a stolen car died in a two-car crash Thursday (August 4) on the Mohouli Extension near Kukuau Street in Hilo.
Mohouli Wreck
At 12:45 p.m., police received a call reporting an auto theft and possible kidnapping. The victim reported that his car had been stolen from Kekaulike Street in Downtown Hilo and that his friend had been asleep in the car before it was stolen.

Police made a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle at the intersection of Kaumana Drive and the Mohouli Extension. When the officer exited his vehicle and approached the stolen sedan, the sedan sped away, turning south onto the Mohouli Extension.

The officer returned to his car, followed the stolen vehicle, lost sight of it momentarily and then encountered two crashed sedans. A witness reported that the stolen car had crossed the center line, slid into the other sedan and then overturned.

A man and a woman in the stolen car were both dead at the scene. They have not yet been identified. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The sole occupant of the other car, a 39-year-old Keaʻau woman, was taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition.

Police later learned that the owner’s male friend, who had been sleeping in the stolen car, had managed to jump out immediately after the male driver entered and took control of the vehicle.

The crash is being investigated by the Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit. The auto theft is being investigated by the Area I Criminal Investigations Section. An administrative review will also be conducted, as is standard policy in any police pursuit.

Police ask that anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Acting Lieutenant Grant Todd at 961-2385 or grant.todd@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Traffic Signal Energizing, Testing, and Activation for Kapiolani St. and Lanikaula St. Intersection

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be working on the new traffic signals at the Lanikāula St. and Kapi‘olani St. intersection on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.

Kapiolani Traffic Signal

The traffic signals will be energized and tested for functionality.  Special off-duty police officers will be posted at the intersection to facilitate traffic movement during the working hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution as the signals will be placed in flash mode for 24 hours (flashing yellow light on Lanikāula St. and flashing red light on Kapi‘olani St.).  The traffic signals on all four approaches to the intersection will be operational on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, pending the completion of functionality testing.  Work is still in progress on the Kapi‘olani St. Extension between Mohouli St. and Lanikāula St. and will remain closed to through traffic.

The County also reminds the public that the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is in the process of their own road improvement project on Kapi‘olani St. approximately fronting the bus stop to Kāwili St. on the mauka side of the road.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution as road crews and heavy machinery will be in that area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hokulea Arrives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Hokulea, Hawaii’s iconic traditional canoe, took the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage north of the United States as it arrived at Canada’s Port of Yarmouth early this morning.

nova scotia

Crew members were welcomed by the Nova Scotia community, dignitaries and members of the Mi’kmaw (pronounced “Meeg Maw”) Nation on the Yarmouth dock, some who attended the occasion in traditional garb. The Mi’kmaw are part of the Wabanaki that Hokulea and her crew honored during the voyage’s recent Portsmouth and Mt. Desert stops.

nova scotia headsThe celebratory arrival ceremony featured cultural dances and the rhythmic beating of drums. Feathers were presented by a representative of the Mi’kmaw to each Hokulea crew member as a symbol of peace and unity.

nova scotia exchangeCanadian legislators were also in attendance: the Honourable Zach Churchill, Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, Warden Murray Goodwin from the Municipality of Yarmouth, and Warden Aldric d’Entremont from the Municipality of Argyle.

“This makes me believe that we’re more alike than we’re different. When we come here and you tell us to come to your place, and thank us for being here, and for being happy – that’s aloha,” said Nainoa Thompson, pwo (master) navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, during the arrival ceremony. “The Worldwide Voyage is trying to take this little canoe and aloha around the world, and we came to Yarmouth for that purpose,” he added.

nova scotia nainoaChief Deborah Robinson of the Acadia First Nations (Mi’kmaw Nation) also spoke at the event. “The Mi’kmaw as part of the indigenous community of Canada, has always struggled and continue to strive to protect Mother Earth and all the natural resources for the future. The preservation of our environment and conservation of the resource is of utmost importance to us as the Mi’kmaw. We all have the same goal – in ensuring a future for our children, and for children for generations to come.”

nova scotia indianWhile in Canada, Hokulea crew members hope to learn more about cultural and environmental sustainability practices from the Bay of Fundy and the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve-a UNESCO-designated area that serves as a model for demonstrating a balanced relationship between humans and the environment.

nova scotia gathering

The Hokulea crew hopes to document and share what they learn from the visit with students in classrooms throughout Hawaii. They will stay for about six days to engage with the area’s First Nations, learn about Nova Scotia’s natural resources and conservation efforts and offer canoe tours to the community.

Canada to Welcome Hokulea… Eh!

The crew of Hokulea is preparing to sail Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe and deliver her Malama Honua message to Canada. Currently moored in Mt. Desert, Maine, the canoe is scheduled to depart for Yarmouth in Nova Scotia, Canada on Sunday, July 31. The sail to Canada will be the farthest point north that the legendary voyaging canoe has ventured.

Hokulea Canada

“We want to touch a new country – we want to welcome (Canada) into the circle of places that the canoe has visited,” said Kalepa Baybayan, pwo (master) navigator.  “We want to capture their stories, and then we’ll turn around, start hitting south and back into more tropical climates – back into the Pacific,” he added.

On their northbound sail to Canada, Hokulea crew members hope to learn more about cultural and environmental sustainability practices from the Bay of Fundy and the Southwest Nova Biosphere-a UNESCO-designated area that serves as a model for demonstrating a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere.

The Bay of Fundy is known for the greatest tidal shifts on the planet. Within a 12-hour period, more water flows in and out of the bay than a 24-hour flow of all the rivers around the world. More importantly, it is a marine zone where a wide variety of marine species and endangered whales congregate each year. Conservation efforts and protection of the Bay of Fundy and the Southwest Nova Biosphere are vital to the Earth’s ecosystem. The Hokulea crew’s goal is to document and share what they learn from the visit with students in classrooms throughout Hawaii.

Hokulea is scheduled to arrive in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on July 31, and will stay for about six days to engage with the area’s First Nations, learn about Nova Scotia’s natural resources and conservation efforts and offer canoe tours to the community.

Island Air Adds Summer Flights

Responding to increased demand for interisland flights this summer, Island Air has added flights to Kahului and Kona.
Island AirThe airline has added three roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Kahului on Fridays and Sundays, and one roundtrip flight between Honolulu and Kona on Fridays and Sundays. The seasonal flights will be in operation through the end of the Labor Day weekend on Sept. 4.

“We are happy to accommodate our customers’ requests for additional flights to Kahului and Kona during the busy summer travel season, particularly on Fridays and Sundays, which are peak travel days for weekend getaways,” said David Uchiyama, president and chief executive officer of Island Air. “We hope these additional flights will provide more convenient options for residents and visitors to Island hop this summer.”

With the additional summer flights, Island Air operates:

  • Six roundtrips between Honolulu and Kahului each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and nine roundtrips each Friday and Sunday.
  • Five roundtrips between Honolulu and Kona each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and six roundtrips each Friday and Sunday.
  • Six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Līhu‘e.

Island Air Reaches Agreement with Three Unions

Island Air today announced it has extended agreements with three unions that represent its pilots, dispatchers, mechanics, flight attendants, customer service and ramp agents, and other employees.

Island Air“We are extremely pleased that we have reached agreements to extend contracts with the three unions that represent the majority of Island Air’s employees,” said David Uchiyama, president and chief executive officer of Island Air. “Each of these agreements recognizes the outstanding contributions our employees make to the success of Island Air. In negotiating with the unions, we had a shared goal of ensuring that our employees are treated fairly and rewarded for their professionalism and hard work, while also allowing Island Air to grow our business and continue to provide safe, reliable interisland flight service.”

Island Air reached a letter of agreement (LOA) with the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), which represents Island Air’s 42 pilots.

“We are pleased to announce the Island Air pilot group has come to a tentative agreement on a mutually beneficial contract extension between the pilots and the company,” said Capt. Jim Morris, representative and chairman of the ALPA Master Executive Council for Island Air. “This new agreement resolves any open contractual issues and lays the groundwork for ALPA to assist the company in its efforts to recruit and retain pilots. We would like to thank the management team for their professional approach to the negotiations and are confident that Island Air will now have the pilot resources it needs to continue its growth, both for our current passengers and future customers as well.”

Island Air also reached an agreement on an extended contract with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Local 540, which represents the airline’s five flight dispatchers.

“The Transport Workers Union, Local 540, is pleased to have reached a new collective bargaining agreement with Island Air,” said Alex Giarrocco, president, Transport Workers Union, Local 540. “The agreement recognizes the key role our professional aircraft dispatchers play in the operational control of each and every Island Air flight. We are proud to share in the success of Island Air today and for many years to come.”

The third agreement is an LOA with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Local 996, which provides collective bargaining for 216 Island Air employees, including aircraft mechanics and inspectors, aircraft cleaners, ground service equipment mechanics, fuelers, flight attendants, stock clerks, and customer and ramp service agents.

“The agreement reached between the Hawaii Teamsters and Island Air gives the company labor stability to focus its energy on growing the business,” said Ronan Kozuma, president, Hawaii Teamsters, Local 996. “We want to thank the Union’s representatives and Island Air management in addressing the employees’ concerns and reaching an agreement that both sides will benefit from.”

Tropical Storm Darby Claims Large Tour Boat Off Kona Coast

The Coast Guard is responding to the grounding of the Spirit of Kona on the island of Hawai’i, Sunday.
Kona Boat
Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Department of Natural Resources, Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation, commercial salvors and the owner of the vessel are working to develop a salvage plan.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse.

Kona Boat2

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at Marine Safety Detachment Hawaii, state agencies and commercial salvors have attended the scene to assess the vessel and reported a 120 yard by 53 yard non-recoverable rainbow sheen in the vicinity.

The vessel reportedly has a maximum pollution potential of 600 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, commercial batteries and 19.5 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. No wildlife was seen in the area or reportedly affected.

The vessel reportedly broke free of its mooring in Kailua Bay as Tropical Storm Darby passed over the region early Sunday. No one was aboard the vessel at the time of the incident. Sector Honolulu watchstanders have issued a broadcast notice to mariners reporting the vessel as a possible hazard to navigation.
Spirit of Kona
As the Spirit of Kona is a commercial vessel, operated by Blue Sea Cruises, the Coast Guard will investigate the cause the of the grounding and work with the owner to address repairs and operating requirements once salvaged. A notice of federal interest has been issued.

Tropical Storm Darby continues to impact the Main Hawaiian Islands Sunday. Commercial ports on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Oahu are closed. The Coast Guard encourages boat owners to take precautions with regard to their vessels by moving them to protected areas, doubling up lines and taking them out of the water as applicable.

Darby continues to move west northwest. Localized damaging winds of 30 to 40 mph can be expected, along with gusts of 50 to 60 mph or greater. Surf along east facing shores of Maui will be 8 to 12 feet. Surf along east facing shores of Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai will be 6 to 10 feet. Passing rainbands will bring periods of showers. There is a chance for intense downpours or thunderstorms to develop near Maui county, then spread to Oahu and Kauai later today. Additional rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches with local amounts up to 15 inches are expected with tropical storm Darby.

Coast Guard Rescues 8 From Burning Ship Offshore Oahu

The Coast Guard rescued eight crewmembers from a burning ship two miles offshore Oahu, Thursday.

Lady Anna

Eight people are safe after a rescue and assist team from USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) fought and extinguished an engineroom fire aboard commercial fishing vessel Lady Anna two miles south of Honolulu Harbor.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” said Lt. Ryan Ball, commanding officer of USCGC Galveston Island. “This was a combined effort between the Galveston Island crew, the watchstanders at Sector Honolulu and rescue boat crews from Station Honolulu and Honolulu Fire Department. I’m happy that we were able to help and I’m proud of my crew for their quick and effective response in putting out the fire. The reason why we do training is to ensure that in an emergency situation such as this, we can perform safely and effectively.”

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center overheard a transmission on VHF channel 16 at 4:30 p.m. regarding a fire aboard the 78-foot fishing vessel Lady Anna. Watchstanders established communication with the vessel, directed the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu and diverted the nearby Galveston Island crew to assist.

Once on scene, the Galveston Island crew reported black smoke billowing from the engineroom. The RB-M crew arrived on scene and safely disembarked the crew from the fishing vessel. The Galveston Island Rescue and Assist Team then boarded the Lady Anna to investigate the smoke. When approaching the engineroom, the team identified flames coming from the generator and utilized a P-6 pump to successfully extinguish the fire.

International crewmembers from the Lady Anna were safely transferred by the RB-M crew to the commercial fishing vessel Sapphire III due to lack of clearance and two U.S. crewmembers were safely transferred to Pier 38. No injuries were reported.

The Lady Anna was towed in to Pier 17 by a water taxi after a marine surveyor deemed the vessel seaworthy and not in danger of taking on water or having a fire re-flash.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will investigate the cause of the fire in the coming days and address any repairs necessary for the Lady Anna to resume normal operations. Lady Anna is homeported in Honolulu.