Hawaii State Senators Pass Important Measures on Final Reading

Members of the State Senate voted to pass a number of important measures on today’s final reading.


By a unanimous vote, the Senate adopted HB1700 CD1 which added for the supplemental operating budget $405,792,059 in all methods of financing, of which $202,317,436 accounts for general fund increases for Fiscal Year 2017.  This represents a targeted 3.1% increase on last year’s biennium budget, and $159,773,111 less than what the Governor requested.  The conference draft also reduces $13,761,322 in general funds in Fiscal Year 2016 as a result of Medicaid savings that were realized, in line with the Senate Ways and Means’ guiding principle of better utilizing base funding and maximizing existing resources.

Other highlights of the budget bill include:

  • $81.9 million in prefunding for Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB)
  • $12 million lump sum appropriation for homeless programs
  • $10 million for Preschool Open Doors
  • $4.7 million for conservation efforts and protection against invasive species
  • $4.8 million for programs supporting the agriculture industry
  • $3 million for kūpuna care
  • $4 million in grants supporting high tech and manufacturing industries

In support of education, the Senate passed SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, which provides $100 million in general funds to install air conditioning for public schools.

The Senate also voted to approve HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1 which would allow alternative accommodations companies to register as tax collection agents with the state.

Other bills passed on final reading include:

  • HB2501 HD1, SD2, CD1 requires that where an application has been made for a lease to continue a previously authorized disposition of water rights, a holdover may be authorized annually until the pending application for the disposition of water rights is finally resolved or for a total of three consecutive one-year holdovers, whichever occurs sooner.
  • HB2675 HD1 SD2 CD1 which appropriates funds for research to combat rapid ohia death.
  • SB2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 which establishes an industrial hemp pilot program.
  • HB1907 HD2 SD2 CD1 requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General.
  • SB2618 SD1, HD2, CD1 requires the department of transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.
  • SB2954 SD2 HD1 authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.
  • SB2647 SD1 HD2 prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, or possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species. Provides exceptions for traditional cultural practices protected under the State Constitution.

The Senate recommitted SB2816, SD1 HD2 which would have amended the criminal trespass law to apply to state properties regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secured and HB32, SD2 CD1 which would have clarified crosswalk procedures and establish safety precautions at crosswalks.

The bills that were adopted on final reading and passed by the House will now be enrolled to the Governor for his signature, veto or passage without his signature.

For a list of all the bills that were voted on Final Reading, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Former Hawaii Superferry Renamed USNS Puerto Rico and Will Run Between US and Canada

The former Hawaii Superferry Alakai is being renamed by the US Navy to USNS Puerto Rico and will now run routes between the United States and Canada.

SuperferryAccording to Fosters.com:

High-speed ferry service will return this summer between Maine and Nova Scotia on a vessel that is smaller and faster than one that operated for two financially disastrous seasons.
Mark MacDonald, president of Canada-based Bay Ferries, said the company will operate a twin-hulled vessel under a lease agreement with its owner, the U.S. Navy.
The ship, USNS Puerto Rico, can make the 212-mile trip in 5 1/2 hours. The Nova Star, which ended service in October, took 11 hours to make the crossing…
…The Puerto Rico was built in Mobile, Alabama, in 2007 for Hawaii Superferry LLC and designed to operate in the Hawaiian islands. The federal government obtained the vessel after Hawaii Superferry went bankrupt in 2009.

More information here: High-speed ferry to run between Portland and Nova Scotia

Former Hawaii Superferry to Serve US Navy in Western Pacific

The Hawaii Superferry when it was harbored in Honolulu

The Hawaii Superferry when it was harbored in Honolulu

According to Defense News one of the former Hawaii superferries will be put into service in the Western Pacific:

Q. What is the rationale for counting Joint High-Speed Vessels (JHSVs)?

A. JHSVs would be a support ship. An important connector. In peacetime, they’re going to be operating forward supporting Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and riverine forces; theater cooperation forces such as the Seabees, point-to-point transportation of Marine Corps and Army forces. And in wartime they will be doing inter-theater transport.

I think of them as the LST [landing ship tank] of the total force battle network. Very shallow draft, can go into these austere ports and offload capability in support of the battle force. They will be very, very useful.

The [two recently-acquired] Hawaii Superferries [known as high-speed vessels, or HSVs] will not count. They do not have the capabilities of the JHSV, all they have are airline seats and you can put stuff on them. The JHSVs are specifically designed to support a company combat team. There are 104 racks, 312 airline bunks. They’re designed to transport an intact company combat team.

We will debate whether the HSVs should count as part of the high-speed vessel force that will be operating. But the JHSV and the HSV are not interchangeable.

So the universe of things we’re debating right now is how you count the PCs, the mine warfare vessels, the hospital ships and the Hawaii Superferries. The rest of the force will probably stay.

[NOTE: One of those Hawaii Superferries is being put into service in the Western Pacific to support Japan-based Marines, replacing a ship named WestPac Express. The Navy now has decided that the replacement ferry will count toward the battle force.]

You can read the full article here:  New US Navy Counting Rules Add Up To More Ships


Navy Looking to Transfer Hawaii Superferries Into Naval Service of the United States

Well I called this one more then a few years ago!

…The Navy “is working with the U.S. Maritime Administration to permit the transfer of the two high-speed vessels, formerly Hawaii superferries, into the naval service of the United States,” Lt. Cmdr. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman, said Friday.

One of the ferries, the Huakai, was used in the military’s relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. The Navy first expressed interest in the ferries after the Maritime Administration took possession of them in 2009.

The Maritime Administration said Friday that a deal had yet to be reached…

More Here: Navy hope to gain two Hawaiian Superferries

Former Public Relations Officer for Hawaii SuperFerry and Aloha Airlines Attempts Suicide

Wow… I’m not sure if any of the local news outlets have picked up on this yet, but the former Public Relations Officer for the Hawaii SuperFerry and Aloha Airlines, Averie Kenery, attempted to commit suicide a few weeks ago.

Averie Kenery

A New York police detective managed to rescue a 32-year-old Filipino-American flight attendant and Honolulu Rotary Club leader from taking her own life in Queens, New York.

Averie Kenery, employed by Delta Air Lines, called her mother and husband to apologize and say goodbye just before 5 p.m. July 17, according to a report on the Filipino Reporter.

She also asked them to tell her two children how much she loved them before losing consciousness, the report said…

…She previously worked as finance and human resource manager at Pipeline Micro Inc., public relations officer at Hawaii Super Ferry and Aloha Air Lines, and training coordinator at Southeast Airlines.”

Full article here: Fil-Am in New York Rescued from Suicide Attempt

The officer that saved her, Detective Charles LoPresti, was recently honored.

Detective Charles LoPresti

Detective Charles LoPresti

…LoPresti and a team of three detectives were able to save a distraught, 32-year-old flight attendant who attempted suicide while staying in a flight crew crash pad in Jamaica. The detective, who has spent 20 combined years with the stationhouse, said he and his partners were lucky to save Averie Kenery because her family called the NYPD from their home in Honolulu, Hawaii, and did not know her exact location…

Full story here: 103rd Cop Saves Flight Attendant After Hawaii Call

Hawaii Superferries Auctioned Off… What’s Next?

The two former Hawaii Superferries, the Alakai and the Huakai, were auctioned off for $25 Million dollars each this week in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.

The purchaser, the U.S. Maritime Administration.


What this basically means, is they could turn them over to the Navy… and if the Navy wanted to… they could be back in the Hawaii Islands serving as military transport between the islands very soon.

Brad Parson’s over at the Hawaii Superferry Unofficial Blog asks:

…Now, what does MARAD do with those 2 vessels?

The Virginia Pilot reports:

“…The ferries will remain in Norfolk for now, a Maritime Administration spokeswoman said.

Possible options include selling the vessels as well as a possible deal involving the Navy, which expressed interest in the ferries last year.”


NeilPryde Race Against the Machine (AKA Hawaii Superferry)


Austal Builder Bob Browning’s Admission on Superferry Bankruptcy “…it did position us for a much more lucrative contract with the Navy.”


Interview from Finance Magazine 8/28/09:

Clive Tompkins: Hello Clive Tompkins reporting for the Finance News Network. Joining me for the first time from ship-builder Austal Ltd (ASX:ASB), is CEO Bob Browning. Bob welcome to FNN. You’ve just released your full year results to June 30 with net profit down 82 per cent to $9.2 million on revenue of $500 million, can you explain the result?

Bob Browning: Sure, and it’s important to realise that the impact in our income statement was really some accounting treatments, non-cash write-downs. Our underlying business would have produced about $38.5 million this year which was ahead of analyst expectations but we had the Hawaii Super Ferry write-down and a derivative instrument that we put in place on a multi-ship program that has locked in a big upside for that program going forward from a commercial basis.

Clive Tompkins: Given the substantial hit you took to your bottom-line on the Hawaii Super Ferry contract, are you going to change the way you get paid for similar deals?

Bob Browning: Sure, yeah the Hawaii Super Ferry contract really was quite unusual. We were actually helping that company get started and put $30 million of mezzanine debt into the business which then allowed us to contract to build two large catamaran ferries for them. And strategically was important because it allowed us to build our workforce up in Mobile, Alabama which then allowed us to win the Joint High Speed Vessel program which is a very close derivative to that whole forum. So while it was unfortunate that Hawaii Super Ferry filed for Chapter 11, it was an unusual thing that we normally wouldn’t do, but it did position us for a much more lucrative contract with the Navy.

Clive Tompkins: Austal has built a global dominance producing and selling car and passenger fast ferries, but has also been producing a fair number of military vessels, where do you get the bulk of your work from these days?

Bob Browning: Right now it comes primarily from the commercial side of the industry in large catamaran ferries down to passenger ferries. If we fast forward upwards of two years I would expects about two thirds of our income from multi-ship U.S. Navy awards going forward.

Clive Tompkins: And is this a conscious decision, or have you just followed the work flow?

Bob Browning: It really was a conscious decision. We were actually prevented form operating or selling in the United States through some protectionist legislation called the Jones Act, and so the establishment of our facility in Mobile Alabama was designed to allow us to produce ships for that market. We then saw an opportunity with a vessel we produced for a customer in the Canary Islands that we thought an adaptation of that would fit the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program and were successful in winning that contract.

Clive Tompkins: The global financial crisis has seen a lot of companies back-peddling, how has Austal been affected?

Bob Browning: It clearly had an impact on our Australian operations with the commercial sales, while the pipeline was quite full, it was taking longer for customers to get the financing that they needed and get to the decision point to actually buy a vessel. So the first half of our fiscal year we had a real trough in the order book. We’re seeing that coming good now, we’ve had three large orders here in calendar year 2009, and clearly the strongest part of our business, the U.S. Navy business, coming forward will take a lot of that volatility out of our business.

Clive Tompkins: So how many months work do you have?

Bob Browning: In the Australian operations we have an order book that will take us out to 2011. In the Navy, because these are multi-ship programs, we’re going to be building vessels just for these two programs for the next eight or nine years.

Clive Tompkins: And what other metrics does a ship-builder monitor in terms of performance?

Bob Browning: If there’s one thing the ship-building industry has its metrics. We measure everything from our cost performance indices, how are we doing against the planned cost for the ship. Schedule performance indices, are we going to deliver the ship on time. Our EBIT margins obviously are very important, do we have the workforce lined up to handle the order book that’s in place, it’s a constant balancing act.

Clive Tompkins: What about margins, are they coming under pressure as government finances are being strained?

Bob Browning: Not so much because of government finances, in fact that’s actually been a more stable piece of our business. The margins of late have come under a bit of pressure because of the first-in-class Littoral Combat Ship that we built. It was a cost plus contract where we earned a fee, but as the cost of the vessel goes up the EBIT margins get squeezed a bit. That’s unique to that one vessel, the vessel’s we build going forward are on a fixed fee contract and are much more predictable in terms of the earnings.

Clive Tompkins: Turning to your work with the U.S. Navy, you’ve just received funding to purchase equipment another two Joint High Speed Vessels. Without actually receiving the contract to build at this stage, how significant is this?

Bob Browning: It’s very significant. It’s a 10 ship program, and so the Navy allowing us to go out and buy the water jets and diesel engines and reduction gears, the big equipment for vessels two and three, is a very clear signal they intend to award those contracts. And so when you add that program up with Littoral Combat Ship program we could be sitting here a year from now and we’ll have $1.5 billion of ships in the order book.

Clive Tompkins: And is this normal to be awarded funding in advance of receiving a contract?

Bob Browning: It’s somewhat unusual. The Navy saw an opportunity to save some money in the cost of this equipment by ordering a bit sooner, more importantly for us it’s a clear signal you know the Navy is not going to order this kind of equipment if they aren’t going to award the rest of the ship. And so we see it as a very significant event in terms of the surety of the next two vessels coming to us.

Clive Tompkins: And have you done work with other Navies?

Bob Browning: We have. We built 14 Armidale Class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy. We finished the delivery of the last of those vessels up last fiscal year. We have built patrol boats for the likes of Yemen and Kuwait. We are currently building coast guard vessels for the Maltese Coast Guard, and we’ll deliver six patrol boats to the Trinidad Navy as well later this year. So Austal is creating a global awareness in terms of patrol boats in the international market.

Clive Tompkins: And onto your competition. Who are your main competitors?

Bob Browning: Our competition depends upon the type of vessel we’re building, as you can imagine. With the U.S. Navy the only competitor we have there is with Littoral Combat Ship program in which Lockheed Martin is a team that’s building a very different style of vessel. While it’s a competitor we expect the Navy to split that contract and we’ll build probably 25 to 27 of our version of the LCS and Lockheed will build 25 to 27 of their version. When you get to commercial car passenger ferries probably our most significant competitor would be Damen out of the Scandinavian area and Incat in Tasmania actually. So it really varies depending on the whole form that we’re building.

Clive Tompkins: How difficult is it for other ship builders to enter your key markets?

Bob Browning: I think we’ve got a strong barrier to entry into our business, particularly in the United States, there’s no other builder of aluminium vessels in the U.S. of our size. We are the largest in terms of market share for large catamaran fast ferries in the world. And it’s a unique skill building with aluminium. We think it’s going to continue to be a strength for us because the operating costs on these vessels are far less, being a lighter material it takes less power to move them at the same speed.

Clive Tompkins: Last question. Bob where do you see Austral in 12 to 18 months?

Bob Browning: It will be a rapidly growing business. As I mentioned earlier we will have $1.5 billion worth of ships in the order book within a year. But that number is going to continue to grow because the Navy is accelerating their acquisition schedule, it appears to us, in vessels. And so that’s going to translate to a much more stable order book, and we believe the market then will be able to see out beyond 12 months which then translates hopefully to a re-rating of the stock. So we‘re feeling very, very good that this is a big inflection point for the company into the future.

Clive Tompkins: Bob Browning thanks for introducing Austal.

Bob Browning: My pleasure.



Hawaii Superferry Files for Bankruptcy Protection

May 30 (Bloomberg)Hawaii Superferry Inc., which provided high-speed ferry service for cars and passengers between Hawaii’s Oahu and Maui islands, filed for bankruptcy protection today.

Hawaii Superferry and parent HSF Holding Inc. filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in Wilmington, Delaware. They cited a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling in March that struck down a state law permitting the company to operate before completing an environmental impact statement.

Tom Fargo, Hawaii Superferry’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement at the time that completing an environmental impact statement could take a year. As a result of the decision, ferry service was immediately shut down and the company’s two high-speed ferries docked in Mobile, Alabama.

The company, which reported more than $100 million in assets and debts in its bankruptcy petition, said it will use the bankruptcy to close its business completely and liquidate the operation.

Hawaii Superferry was formed in 2002 to provide high-speed ferry service among the four main Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai. The company began carrying passengers in August 2007 on the Alakai, an aluminum-hulled catamaran that carried as many as 866 people and 282 cars, according to court papers in the bankruptcy case.

More Here.

Did I Help Sink the Superferry… Nah

On November 13th I was the first in the state to blog:

…Austal USA has won a $1.6 billion contract to build up to 10 high-speed transport ships for the U.S. military, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, announced Wednesday…

No one in the media had picked up on this… I even ended the post by saying:

…I’m amazed the Unofficial Hisuperferry Blog hasn’t picked up on this.

This weeks Honolulu Weekly is running an article, Conspiracy Ferry, where it points to that contract specifically as one of the two that are troublesome:

…First, the construction of the two ferries by Austal USA helped the young company get a contract to build a military version of the fast cargo and troop-transport ship—with an option for nine others—for a total of $1.6 billion, according to defense analysts and Austal USA itself. It also played a role in getting a contract for a Littoral Combat Ship prototype, a separate project to build up to 50 fast, aluminum warships at more than twice the price for each. The question is: was that the real purpose of building the Superferry?…

The article was tucked in the back of an Online Alabama Newspaper and I have to wonder if it would have ever been brought forth… Had I not blogged about it in the first place… and then the other sites picked up on it?

Superferry Going Under Now is a GOOD Thing for Big Island

Believe it or not… I am a bit disappointed that the Superferry has been ordered to shutdown.

Lingle and her Oldschool Girls pretty much got spanked and even Lingle is still trying to prevent the closure.

It is a good thing that it shut down now, before it started operations on the Big Island.   I can only imagine all the people and farmers that would be struggling now to figure out how to ship their produce to the other islands with such a short notice.

I pretty much expect that with this shutdown… we might actually see the Superferry on this island a bit sooner!

From Dissappeared News http://tinyurl.com/dn6j6n

From Dissappeared News http://tinyurl.com/dn6j6n

If the military takes it over… I bet they would start running the ferry as Military Transport w/out having to go through as many hoops and barrels as a private company would.

Photo from http://www.boycottsuperferry.org/

Photo from http://www.boycottsuperferry.org/

I kind of wish that I would have taken at least one trip on the buggah.  It’s not too often that citizens get a chance to ride on Military Prototypes for very little cost.

Anyone want to place wagers on how quickly we see the Superferry looking something like this?

Photo from http://www.boycottsuperferry.org/

Photo from http://www.boycottsuperferry.org/

Hōkūle’a: Launch to Palmyra Atoll… The Video

Hōkūle’a crew share their aloha with friends and family before departing on their 1,000 mile sail to Palmyra Atoll. This voyage is the first deep-ocean training for the Hōkūle’a Wolrdwide Voyage in which the traditional Hawaiian canoe will circumnavigate the Earth. The crew carry with them the idea that we are all crew members on Canoe Earth and, just as on Hōkūle’a, we need to care for one another an our resources.


You can check out the crew anytime you want on their Twitter feed here: @HokuleaWWV

Surfers vs. the Superferry

Hat tip to one of my readers for pointing out this article in “The Nation”.

Surfers vs. The Superferry

by Jerry Mander and Koohan Paik

It all started in 2001 as a purportedly modest “local” effort to offer inter-island ferry service to “help local people more easily visit their relatives on other islands, and carry their farm produce to market.” Most locals liked the idea but soon found that this ferry, the gigantic Hawaii Superferry, was an environmental nightmare. It uses far more fuel (in total and per person) than big planes. It races at high speed (40-45 miles per hour) through zones teeming with endangered humpback whales, dolphins and rare sea turtles. It could transport dangerous invasive species to pristine islands. And it carries hundreds of cars to tiny places already choking on traffic…

Environmentalists demanded an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its Hawaii equivalent (HEPA). But the Hawaii Superferry Company, with strong support from Governor Linda Lingle, the ambitious right-wing Republican lately famous for introducing Sarah Palin at the Republican convention, refused.

By 2004 the lead investor (nearly $90 million) and new chair of the board for this “local” ferry project was New York City military financier John Lehman, Ronald Reagan‘s secretary of the Navy, a leading neocon with a famously aggressive military vision. (The Washington Post quoted him in 1984 as advocating first-strike nuclear strategies.) Lehman is a member of the Project for the New American Century and a 9/11 commissioner, but his great passion has been pushing for a vastly expanded, 600-ship Navy and a stronger US military presence in the Pacific to assuage mounting concerns about China as a future military superpower. After his company, J.F. Lehman, took over the Superferry project, Lehman appointed a new board with a majority of former top military brass. He later hired Adm. Thomas Fargo as CEO. Only four years ago Fargo was the commander of US military operations in the Pacific, answering directly to George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. So the question is this: why on earth would anyone need a board that qualifies as a mini-Pentagon to run a friendly transport for families and papayas between islands?

A surfer catches a wave at Kakaako Waterfront Park as the Hawaii Superferry approaches.

A surfer catches a wave at Kakaako Waterfront Park as the Hawaii Superferry approaches.

A key moment in this saga came in August 2007, on the small island of Kauai, called the Garden Island by tourist agencies for its folded green cliffs, cascading waterfalls and aloha spirit. But on this occasion about 1,500 locals–including a high percentage of Native Hawaiians, joined by people of Japanese and Filipino descent and a contingent of New Age haoles (recent white settlers seeking Shangri-La)–showed up at Nawiliwili Harbor to protest the Superferry’s maiden voyage from Honolulu to Kauai. Several dozen surfers also played a catalytic role.

When the protesters saw the oncoming speeding colossus on the horizon–bigger than a football field, four stories high and capable of carrying as many as 866 people and 282 cars–the outrage grew. The anger had been magnified a few days earlier when Governor Lingle and Lehman’s Superferry company indicated they would disregard a 5-0 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling demanding the boat suspend operations until it completed an EIS. As it approached, dozens of surfers and swimmers leaped into the water. Ignoring strident Coast Guard threats, they headed out under the Superferry’s terrifying catamaran blades, stopping the ship dead in the water. It created a sort of Tiananmen Square standoff in the waters of Kauai.

It was a dangerous business, but next day when the Superferry returned, the crowd of protesters had grown, and the surfers and beach brigades had too. In the ensuing eighteen months, the boat has never returned to Kauai and now has only one daily run, from Honolulu to Maui. The “spirit of Nawiliwili” has become the stuff of legend in Hawaii .

On the island of Maui, similar outrage led to a series of large if less spectacular protests. But the Maui resistance settled on legal actions from groups like the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition. It was these groups that had won the unanimous Hawaii Supreme Court ruling demanding the EIS. Everyone thought that decision would settle matters. Instead, it stimulated Lingle to demonstrate her Machiavellian chops by coercing the State Legislature (many of whose members had received Superferry largesse, as had Lingle) to pass a law theoretically circumventing the court ruling and permitting the boat to operate. It was an in-your-face move worthy of Bush/Cheney at their peak. Lingle’s new law, Act Two, invented an EIS process with few features from NEPA or HEPA. The new law, for example, has no power to stop the Superferry from operating, no matter what the environmental findings. It’s a fake EIS.  The Maui groups have gone back to court to charge that Act Two is unconstitutional–violating separation of powers and directly favoring a single company, among other problems. The final decision is expected any day.

Three weeks after Nawiliwili, another huge throng filled the 1,500 seats of Kauai’s War Memorial Convention Hall, with many more outside, for a “public meeting” called by Governor Lingle. Imperiously she warned that she would not discuss whether there would be a Superferry–that had been decided. Her purpose was to instruct people that if they repeated their protests, they would be charged under new anti-terrorism laws that carry prison terms up to five years and/or a $10,000 fine.

Her statements were met with hoots and laughter and then a series of eloquent testimonies about protection of sacred lands (aina in Hawaiian) and sea creatures and the rights of local communities to protect themselves from invasive species and invasive corporations with militaristic intentions. Many indicated they were not opposed to a ferry if it would operate within community and environmental standards rather than those of an absentee owner with profit motives and military intentions. Others denounced Lingle’s embrace of the project and its owner, suggesting she’d abandoned Hawaii for personal ambition.

Lingle’s goals surely go beyond providing a useful local ferry. They certainly seemed to have far more to do with getting closer to powerful Republican Party figures–notably Lehman, slated, as the New York Times reported, to have been John McCain’s chief of staff, had he won.

Throughout all this, the governor and the Superferry company denied the ferry’s long-range military implications, despite earlier statements by Lehman and other executives about transporting Stryker tanks and other military services along with similar statements from the US Maritime Administration, which had issued a loan guarantee. Pacific Business News reported in March 2005 that Timothy Dick, Hawaii Superferry’s original chair, confirmed that “Hawaii Superferry provided the Army with a cost analysis and expects to negotiate a long-term contract.” The article also noted that “with Lehman’s expertise, the Superferry plans to…carry military equipment and ferry vehicles from Oahu to the Big Island on a daily basis” and quoted Lehman saying that “the Superferry is strong enough to take Stryker vehicles.”

Then in November the Superferry’s manufacturer, Austal USA of Mobile, Alabama, was awarded a $1.6 billion Pentagon contract to build ten high-speed catamarans under the Navy’s Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program in preparation for possible future conflicts with China. The model that Austal submitted for that contract competition was almost identical to the Hawaii Superferry’s large-scale, aluminum-hulled high-speed catamaran design, except for military fittings and accommodations. The fact that the Superferry was already in the water, proving its seaworthiness while the JHSV contract was being considered, suggests that it may have always been intended as a prototype or demo model for the larger deal. It also explains the consistent refusals to do an EIS, which might have delayed getting the boat operational and visible.

Two years earlier, Lehman had also purchased a shipyard, Atlantic Marine, adjacent to Austal in Mobile. It’s not yet clear if Lehman’s company, or Superferry, stands to gain from the Austal award, possibly by subcontracting aspects of that huge construction project, but speculation in Hawaii runs wild.

All parties await the next ruling from the Hawaii Supreme Court on the Maui appeal. A new diverse grassroots community of activists on Kauai is warily assessing whether it will again need to respond. Will the company try to send the boat back to Kauai? Or will the Superferry quit Hawaii altogether as too much trouble, selling the boat for military uses, or to someplace with no activist surfers? As for Lingle’s future, it’s not bright. While touring with Palin during the presidential campaign, Lingle was quoted saying that Barack Obama’s “claim” to be from Hawaii is “disingenuous.” That enraged the Hawaiian public more than the Superferry. She may no longer be politically viable.

How Humpbacks Warn Other Whales About Approaching Superferry


Ok… well maybe not.

Superferry Chronicles Mainland Readings, Releases and Information

Press Release

The Superferry Chronicles
Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism, and the Desecration of the Earth
Book-Launch Readings with author Jerry Mander
“Patriarch of the Antiglobalization Movement” — Andrew Revkin, NY Times

Friday, February 20, 2009 – New York City
7:00 p.m. – Bluestockings Books, 172 Allen Street (between Stanton and Rivington) – Lower East Side
Bluestockings, 212-777-6028

Monday, February 23, 2009 – Philadelphia
6:00 p.m. – White Dog Cafe, 3420 Sansom Street
Contact White Dog Cafe, 215-386-9224

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 – Washington, DC
6:30 p.m. – Busboys and Poets (new location), 1025 5th St NW at K St – Mt Vernon Triangle
Cosponsored by International Forum on Globalization and
Institute for Politcy Studies
Contact Busboys and Poets, 202-789-2227

Battle of Seattle meets Baywatch

Hear the story of a successful grassroots uprising by SURFERS opposing a global corporate-military boondoggle in Hawaii–which is the jumping-off point for America’s Pacific and global hegemony.

Jerry Mander, director of the International Forum on Globalization and author of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, offers this riveting report on the successful local uprising in Hawaii against a corrupt, global corporate-military scheme — a fuel-guzzling catamaran that courses through whale sanctuaries at three times the speed the government considers safe. Partly investigative journalism, partly cultural-political history of militarization in the Pacific, partly an account of an inspiring popular resistance, the book is a searing indictment of a project illegally pushed by Hawaii’s Republican Governor in support of powerful, right-wing New York military financier John Lehman, who is chair of Superferry’s board and whose investment company owns the Hawaii Superferry Corp. A prominent neocon, former Navy Secretary under Ronald Reagan, and public advocate of winnable nuclear war, Lehman and his colleagues have been promoting the Superferry as a neighborly inter-island transport service, but the project clearly seems to have far more to do with U.S. military aspirations in the Pacific. The local heroes are the people of Kaua’i, led by surfers in a spectacular demonstration of mass opposition, leaping into the waters to block the environmentally disastrous juggernaut.

“An excoriating exposé.” — Jeanne Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle weblog, “Hawaii Insider”

“Written like an activist documentary film, with heroes and villains, outrage and conspiracies.” — Lee Cataluna, Honolulu Advertiser

“The idea of boats to connect the Hawaiian Islands is so natural and lovely that it makes one doubly mad to read how in this case it’s been perverted into yet one more sad scheme for our paranoid future. Good for you–people of Hawai’i–who’ve raised the alarm, and to these authors for pulling back the curtain.” — Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy

“Dive into a story of almost allegoric proportions. Let it embolden you to stand up for our Earth, its beauty and its creatures, including ourselves.” — Frances Moore Lappé, author Diet for a Small Planet and Hope’s Edge

“In every era, simple events become symbols of greater forces that shape human history. The Superferry Chronicles brings one such moment alive. The book captures the spirit of that defining event and reveals the corporate manipulation, political bullying, corruption and deceit that lay behind the Hawaii Superferry.” — Lucienne de Naie, Chair, Sierra Club, Hawaii

“I applaud the authors for bringing the voices of the grassroots to the foreground. The people make history, and the people of Kaua’I have made us proud. Kauli’i makou, nui ke aloha no ka ‘aina. (‘We are small in numbers, but our love for our land is great.’)” — Ikaika Hussey, Publisher, The Hawaii Independent

Jerry Mander is director of the International Forum on Globalization, and author of the best sellers Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, In the Absence of the Sacred, and the Case Against the Global Economy. Andrew Revkin of the New York Times called him “the patriarch of the anti-globalization movement.”

For more information, visit
Published by Arnie Kotler at
Koa Books. Cover drawing by Mayumi Oda.

Building the Superferry… National Geographic Special: Video


Superferry Chronicles… Talk With the Authors – The Video(s)

Hisuperferry.blogspot.com mentions that an incident took place today on the superferry.  It’s not for sure what happened just yet as far as I can tell.  Could a whale have been hit?

I just noticed this series of videos about the recent book signing of the Superferry Chronicles over on Maui.

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Part 4:


Part 5:


More Then Half on Superferry Vomit… Cars Damaged on Latest Superferry Trip

Just noticed this article on a Superferry trip this weekend:

…That passenger said, she and more than half the passengers were vomiting at the end of the three hour trip…Vehicles on the bottom deck shifted and 13 of them had minor damage.

Reminds me of this “Got Barf Bag” blog I posted a month ago with a video on it.

Sick on the Superferry: Engineering Student Describes His Superferry Ride

I got a kick out of reading the following blog posting by some engineering student entitled:  The Superferry Three of us Would Not Call It Super

… The Alakai just has a draft of 12ft.  That is very little. Other ferries which I traveled with on the Baltic see have a draft between 20 and 23ft. Maybe some of the harbors on the Hawaiian islands are not deep enough for larger ships…

Unfortunately, during the first 45 minutes of the ride and within the last half an hour, we had to travel in the open sea. That caused heavy body rolling and pitch movements of the vessel.

Matthias M. was the first one to feel a little sick, but it did not take much time until Matthias G. and Ania also took some comfort bags. Just in case.  This is an understatement, you know how that story goes… Only Andreas and I would still have answered “We’re fine.” to any habitual American welcoming phrase, although I must admit that it was a bit like traveling in a glider while looking for lift winds. Perhaps irrational driving trains to stand these conditions?…

Out on the Deck... Getting Fresh Air and Drinking Complimentary Ginger Ale

Out on the Deck... Getting Fresh Air and Drinking Complimentary Ginger Ale

“Got Barf Bag”… Hawaii Superferry Forced to Return To Port… Video

I just noticed these youtube clips of a trip on the Superferry from two days ago,  where the superferry actually got turned around because of rough conditions.

If you look around the 1:20 mark of this video… you see some scary stuff!

“My superferry ride from 12/11/08 – I uploaded this from my phone so the video sucks but the audio should give you the idea of what was going on. This is the first SF voyage that was forced back by weather. 25′ waves will do that…”


Part 2:

“…Continued from part 1: After five minutes of beating the crap out of the boat and passengers, the captain gives up and heads back to port…”


Around 1:20 mark… captain gets on loudspeaker to explain to customers that there trip has been canceled and the Ferry is turning around.