Thursday, November 13, 2008

Musings: Time is Telling

In response to a recent post about the Superferry, and my belief that it won’t be returning to Kauai, a reader ranted, er, commented:

why do you continue to cling to the Brad Parson's Fantasyland of wishful thinking that parades as a THEORY that the whole thing is a Military facade and will go away? Probably because you contributed to the THEORY (that's right THEORY THEORY THEORY THEORY THEORY).

Well, it may still be a theory, but it's one that continues to gain credence with the news that Austal USA, which built the Superferry, reportedly has won a $1.6 billion contract to build up to 10
 Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) for the Navy.

Citing U.S. Sen.
Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, as its source for the contract award, which has not been confirmed by the Navy or Austal, — Update: now confirmed — the Mobile Press-Register, reports:

Maritime industry analyst Tim Colton, of Florida consulting
firm Maritime Business Strategies LLC, said that if Austal
is indeed the winner, it is likely that the company's
experience and ability to tackle the work made its bid
superior. Australian parent Austal Ltd. is an expert at
building high-speed fast ferries, and the U.S. shipyard is
now putting finishing touches on the second of two such
vessels for Hawaii Superferry Inc.

The JHSV is a transport ship, not a combat vessel, and would
 be similar to an Austal Ltd. ship leased by the military for
 use by Marines in the western Pacific. The Navy is the 
contracting agency for the JHSV program, though the Army
would also use the vessels.


As you may, or may not, recall, in Part VI of my “Lifting the Veil” series, I reported:

The navy, which is leading the program, released an RFP (Request for Proposal) for the JHSV contract last year, and the response period closed Sept. 10, 2007. One contractor will be selected this year to build all eight JHSVs. The navy is looking to pay $150 million for the lead ship, and $130 million for the other seven. Five will go to the Army, and the Navy will operate three for itself and the Marine Corps.

Its design specifications are based on lessons learned from leasing four high-speed commercial catamarans: the Venture, Spearhead, Swift and Westpac Express. The latter two are still in service. The Superferry is a near dead ringer for the Westpac Express, which also was built by Austal USA.


Then in final installment of that series, I noted:

And here comes the Superferry, which is .... proving itself by running at high speeds day after day, weather and harbor surges permitting, in some of the nation’s roughest waters.

As one source told me: “In an accelerated procurement environment, it would give [Congressional appropriations] committees great comfort in granting money for something up and running.”


In that same post, I quoted Terry O’Hallloran, who is no longer directly employed by HSF (but still works as a consultant), as saying the Superferry — the largest aluminum ship ever built in the United States, whose construction was documented by National Geographic — is no different than other fast ferries around the world.

“The idea that this vessel is unique….or has some kind of military connection is absolutely false,” he said.

Only time will tell if he’s telling the truth.


Since then, we’ve seen the second Superferry outfitted with ”national defense features” that would “enable the vessel to be chartered to the military if they so desire.” The company also announced it would put the second ferry to use elsewhere for at least a year, or until HSF can “develop this market” in the Islands.

And now here’s the news of Austal reportedly winning the contract to build the JHSV. As for what’s in it for HSF, well, let’s not forget that its chief investor is J.F. Lehman, and as I reported in Part VII:

Since its involvement with HSF, J.F. Lehman has made acquisitions that could support both JHSV and LCS construction contracts, including Elgar Electronics, which manufactures electrical power test and measurement equipment for the military and commercial uses, and Atlantic Inertial Systems, a leading niche supplier of highly-engineered guidance, stabilization and navigation products and systems for aircraft, weapons and land systems applications.

Most notably, J.F. Lehman also bought Atlantic Marine Holding Co., a leading provider of repair, overhaul and maintenance services for commercial seagoing vessels and U.S. Navy ships that is located adjacent to the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. The company owns and operates another shipyard in Mobile, as well as one in Jacksonville, Fla., where it also leases a third facility at the Naval Station Mayport.


Time, it seems, is starting to tell.

26 comments:

MauiBrad said...

Yes, good on you, Joan.

And as for, "Brad Parson's Fantasyland of wishful thinking that parades as a THEORY that the whole thing is a Military facade and will go away?"

I have no such theory. It is not a Military facade.

The facts of the story reported elsewhere, like in yesterday's Boston Globe and Britian's International Herald Tribune are good enough by themselves. The story is a perfect story, it needs no embellishing.

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Joan,
You and the other nut jobs on Kauai see conspiracy around ever corner. The military, which by the way helps to provide you the freedom to shoot your mouth off about things you do not understand, also uses or can use in time of war cruise ships... should we stop building them too? All I know is... you don't want ohana from Oahu over there... fine. Just don't plan on coming to Oahu... you can fly or better yet swim to Maui and go back to the mainland from there! And by the way when the next hurricane comes we won't come to help like we did last time (how soon they forget) and will tell the US Navy not to come either! Your actions and those of the other loud mouth radicals on Kauai do not represent the majority of the citizens there nor in Hawaii and you have done nothing but give our state a black eye!

MauiBrad said...

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here is the Contract...for 1 ship with NAVY Option for 9 more

Oh, that's pricey, $185,433,564, more than twice what HSV's have gone for in past and presumably will go for in the future. Notice the NAVY has the option of 9 more, or NOT.

Here is the 'scoop,' the first accurate media report:

From: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aq1LfQ6bI2Tg&refer=australia
"Austal Wins $185.4 Million Navy Award for High-Speed Vessel"
By Gopal Ratnam November 13, 2008 17:53 EST

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- "Austal Ltd., the Perth, Australia- based shipbuilder, won a $185.4 million contract from the U.S. Navy to build a high-speed vessel that will transport troops and supplies, the Defense Department said.

The work will be performed by Austal's U.S. unit in Mobile, Alabama, the Pentagon said today on its Web site. The contract includes options to build as many as nine more ships..."

Here is the actual DoD press release:

From: http://www.defenselink.mil/CONTRACTS/CONTRACT.ASPX?CONTRACTID=3903
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
Contract On the Web: http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=3903

FOR RELEASE AT 5 p.m. ET
November 13, 2008

CONTRACTS
NAVY

"Austal USA, Mobile Ala., is being awarded a $185,433,564 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2217) for the firm quantity of one Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) with options for up to nine additional ships and associated shore-based spares for the Phase II downselect of the JHSV Program. The JHSV Program will provide high speed, shallow draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies and equipment for the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. Work will be performed in Mobile, Ala., and is expected to be completed by November 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity."

"Mid-Atlantic Marine Services*, Dumfries, Va., is being awarded a $59,930,293 multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity cost plus fixed fee contract for engineering and technical shipboard alteration services for maintaining the fleet operational and material readiness of hull, mechanical and electrical systems and equipment on U.S. naval vessels..."

Aloha, Brad

Labels: Austal, gold-plating, JHSV, Navy, Obama transition

Anonymous said...

Wait, sorry, why is it "bad" that the military wants to use and seems like it is going to buy these types of ships?

Anonymous said...

Your actions and those of the other loud mouth radicals on Kauai do not represent the majority of the citizens there nor in Hawaii and you have done nothing but give our state a black eye!
First their were 30 protesters, then 500, then 1500 and the stupid ferry turned around. We are the majority and are fed up with a state that violates it own laws and then rewrites them. When tyranny is law revolution is order.

Joan said...

Anon. 7:02 wrote: Wait, sorry, why is it "bad" that the military wants to use and seems like it is going to buy these types of ships?"

As I observed in the final installment of "Lifting the Veil:"

Well, I guess it just kinda bugs me to think we’re compromising our resources, dividing our community, spending taxpayer dollars and undermining our environmental laws to help a corporation make serious money while further militarizing our nation.

MauiBrad said...

Anonymous 7:16 PM said: "...We are the majority and are fed up with a state that violates it own laws and then rewrites them. When tyranny is law revolution is order." Sounds like something JFL might write?

Wholeheartedly agree. HRS Chapter 343 should have been abided by all along. That is the law and executives of the state should not have misled anyone about it. There never should have been an exception made to Chapter 343. Hopefully the Supreme Court will set this straight on Dec. 18-19th.

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Wow, it seems like Breathless Brad is on to something. Oh, wait, it's really nothing. Just a whole lot of nothing; as usual.

The perfect story? What a delusion!

Anonymous said...

Look Brad, it's like this: you have constantly produced 500 or a 1000 words and just because 3-4 of the words are Austal, Navy, Superferry, or Lehman, you think you have a smoking gun. You don't. You have events occurring in parallel because one company has an inovative naval design for our times. You can't see this because you're so flaming partisan you've lost all perspective. In fact, until they got whale detection equipment I wouldn't put it past you to have planned to kill a whale yourself and shove it in front of this boat. Just keep attaching your name and credibility to this junk, because when it all shakes out, nobody is going to listen to you about nothing.

Anonymous said...

What a funny bunch from Oahu, if indeed that's where they are from (probably commenting from Alabama). No facts, all commentary. Thanks to both of the anonymous commentators for reminding everyone reading this how absolutely out of touch people that are not from here can be when they get on their rant wagons.
For the sake of all the readers PLEASE start bringing some facts into the mix or continue to make yourselves the laughing stock. You're like high schoolers trying to debate professors here.

Anonymous said...

great post;never far from the sensitive nerve that the HSF(read-empire defending military friendly capitulalist, mostly men, mostly haole)irritates. crazy sentiments from compassionate folks. i'm still glad it hasn't come back.

Anonymous said...

"Well, I guess it just kinda bugs me to think we’re compromising our resources, dividing our community, spending taxpayer dollars and undermining our environmental laws to help a corporation make serious money while further militarizing our nation."

I appreciate the response. Two (2) points:

1) Env – Yet the carbon benefits of a ferry vs air travel are never acknowledged. At the same time, the dynamic of (for example) more persons traveling to places like Kauai and fishing...it is a valid point (there is more to the analysis for sure, and several retorts...but it is a valid point, as is the likelihood that “more surfers will come and crowd the surf spots”). We also await and look forward to a similar degree of scrutiny being applied to existing ocean cargo and vehicle inter-island transport (as to the question of, for example, invasive species).

2) Military – This is perhaps the weakest “argument” against the ferry (militarization). Laughable really (the political emotions driving the argument are so obvious). If you want to give” it” teeth, focus on the idea that instead of the military financing the basic RnD of a given technology (which is how it very often works), we have here an example of public financing of technology for the explicit and sole benefit of known future military applications and procurement. This twist on your “military’ talking point will appeal to rational minds (if that was ever a goal)...yet at the same time, this argument is also has its failings.

Anonymous said...

“No facts, all commentary”

Your nerve and ironic commentary are to be applauded. Classic.

Fact: Per temperature and other atmospheric characteristics as found at, say, 30,000 feet, aviation emissions at such altitudes are far more harmful than same or similar emissions on or near the earth’s surface (and please let me know if anybody wants to challenge this).

In other words “[...]airplane emissions have a greater warming effect, pound for pound, than do land-based emissions, as they occur at altitude" (Source: http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/archives/2007_05_01_index.asp).

Also – Article via the same environmental group which, in part, acknowledges aviation ozone harm dynamics: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200311/trains.asp

Scientific documents can be pretty dry...it seemed better just to cite the Sierra Club.

I could ask what people have against Kauai farmers wanting the opportunity to explore better and more quickly sending produce to Oahu, but for now let us just note how “boats beat planes” as to carbon release and energy conservation.

You are welcome to note there are, among other things, two (2) important groups to define: instances of persons who would not have traveled by plane in any event, but will travel by ferry if it were available, and; those who, if given the chance, would travel by boat in lieu of a plane (ie, the people who were coming here anyways). Let us also factor in some degree of time-sensitive air cargo thereafter being placed on a fast ferry. I do this for you as, frankly, I do not think you are very smart and I want to move the discussion along.

Lastly, as to real science and facts on the ferry, I could just cite Ken Stokes on this...but I want to give you a sporting chance here.

Katy Rose said...

I have to agree that there is a weakness with the HSF/military connection argument, but not for the reason that anonymous poses above.

There are two counter-arguments to the position that there is a military/HSF link. The first is that it's an unproven assumption. I think Joan has deftly laid that to rest with her research.

The tougher argument goes like this: so what?

This argument is based on two ideas: that almost all transportation platforms and other technological advances benefit the military, and that the military is a benign and even indispensible institution whose function is to protect us.

Those of us who are concerned about the military link fundamentally question this last assertion. Our perspective is that the US military is primarily an arm of empire and conquest rather than simple self-defense. Tangentially and just as importantly we critique the track record of cultural and environmental destruction by the US military both here in Hawai'i and around the globe. We challenge the hegemonic narrative that the US military and US militarism is good and necessary for real prosperity and security.

Perhaps without it, the current model of US domination and capitalism could not sustain itself; we also question whether that would be such a bad thing.

This is a stark ideological departure from HSF supporters who are untroubled by the military connection and perhaps we should be more explicit about it wherever possible in order to avoid wasteful arguments.

Anonymous said...

Ok I think I can follow/understand that at least (albeit not mostly agree).

So...”military” stands for X, it does X, the effects of it are X, and X is “bad.” Ergo, if the SF being employed in HI “helps/supports” in some way the military...this should at the least be very heavily scrutinized, if not in all likelihood be stopped, reduced, etc.

Am I close?

Otherwise, to the extent it matters:

“that almost all transportation platforms and other technological advances benefit the military”...I doubt whether the “so what” view depends much or at all on this premise/sub-argument, moreover – sure, some transport/tech developments helps the military, and some do not (and sometimes the military transport/tech ends up in the civilian world).

Now the idea that the military is, on the net, “bad”...sure, good faith and pretty reasonable arguments can be made along those lines (up to the point of all out dissolving it, at least for the foreseeable future). Some good examples are “they do a bad job cleaning up firing ranges” (and I know a hell of a lot about that FYI, it is being worked on, but it is also a very real problem)...the sonar/whale thing is a decent example also. It is not great, but a SF tie-in can be made to this that is at least not (intellectually) insulting. Still, one would think that efforts would be better spent...I dunno, focusing on Navy pollution in Oahu? I guess I would just hope that this is not “hey, if we stop the ferry...it will impact US foreign policy / macro military operations”...because that is about as likely as “stop the ferry, save the Amazon.”

In short, the causal connections do not seem to jive, yet the elaboration on the principle that (according to you) drives the "military" talking point is appreciated.

Katy Rose said...

There is plenty of resistance to militarism in Hawai'i and elsewhere, so to say that all demilitarization efforts are focussed on the Superferry is inaccurate. A good overview can be found here:

http://dmzhawaii.org/overview_military_in_hawaii.pdf

But it is a struggle that must be waged on all fronts, and the Superferry - which could indeed be used to ferry Stryker vehicles and troops - is an important front.

I also think that those who defend the US military on the grounds that it does some positive things should prove that those same positive things could not possibly be done by other means.

Anonymous said...

Joan,
You and the other nut jobs on Kauai see conspiracy around ever corner. The military, which by the way helps to provide you the freedom to shoot your mouth off about things you do not understand, also uses or can use in time of war cruise ships... should we stop building them too? All I know is... you don't want ohana from Oahu over there... fine. Just don't plan on coming to Oahu... you can fly or better yet swim to Maui and go back to the mainland from there! And by the way when the next hurricane comes we won't come to help like we did last time (how soon they forget) and will tell the US Navy not to come either! Your actions and those of the other loud mouth radicals on Kauai do not represent the majority of the citizens there nor in Hawaii and you have done nothing but give our state a black eye!

Signed,
George Bush
Dick Cheney
Donald Rumsfeld



...Fixed.

;)

Anonymous said...

"I also think that those who defend the US military on the grounds that it does some positive things should prove that those same positive things could not possibly be done by other means."

I am not qualified to do this, but:

1)Yugoslavia (albeit very late)
2)Somalia (noble intent in the beginning, the rest went badly)
3)Haiti (various times)
4)Libya (the guy needed to be boxed in some in the 80's...and we did get him to give up some WMDs; Gaddafi...interesting guy, kicked out Jews, but hates Osama, planted a lot of trees..etc etc)

Anyways, examples abound (and to keep things fair, all post 1980 examples).

I will not cite Panama (despite locals being happy Noriega was removed) as the US helped create the guy to a very significant extent.

And don't get me wrong, it would have been great if the UN would have done all or most of the above (plus Rwanda of course). And the above examples were also after much diplomatic efforts.

And of course we should do more...Angola for example...those people could be sooooooo much better off (it is like the Syriana of Africa in some ways).

* The above 1-4 is not RE things like technology, but it could have been. And does not cite examples when the military gets involved in humanitarian missions (floods, earthquakes, etc)...and the speed and resources they have relative to non-military operations is usually hardly comparable (and I am not giving the military "extra credit" for this...of course they should lend their weight when they can....not to do so is like not lending out your fire truck when the next door neighbor is trying to put out their flaming house with a garden hose).

PS - I am not defending the military, just doing some historical accounting as requested RE "good stuff" they have done where flashing a gun (sadly) was needed/helpful/critical/etc.

Anonymous said...

To "November 14, 2008 4:54 PM"

oooohhhh!! nice one!! so crisp. that was money! my compliments!

Anonymous said...

Joan,

We live in a world that has oceans, and those oceans have to be crossed by men with ferries. Who's gonna do it? You? Mauibrad? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Kauai, and you curse the HSF. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know -- that the HSF, while polluting, makes money; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, makes money.

You need the Superferry because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want trucks on your highway -- you need trucks on your highway!

We use words like "commerce," "spin," "lobbyists." We use these words as the backbone of a life spent making backroom deals at the expense of you taxpayers. You use them as a hippie slogan on a tie-died T-shirt.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a woman who rises and sleeps under the clouds evaporated from the very ocean that I pollute, and then questions the manner in which I pollute it.

I would rather that you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up an oar and paddle to Oahu. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

Nautically yours,
-- Col. Nathan R. "Aloha" Jessup

Anonymous said...

strange post above, but creative

Anonymous said...

I think it's called "satire."

Works especially well if one has read the post from "Anonymous November 13, 2008 2:50 PM" above, and has seen the famous "You Can't Handle the Truth" scene from the film A Few Good Men -- it can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGvQtumNAY

;)

nunya said...

"Wait, sorry, why is it "bad" that the military wants to use and seems like it is going to buy these types of ships?"

Well, for one thing, it was brought in under the guise of a commercial vessel in order to dupe some people (taxpayers) into footing the bill...you see, PNAC put out some initiatives and ideas, one of them being to ʻfind creative financing sourcesʻ.

That means that many of you taxpayers chomped down on the bogus scam. Thatʻs OK, some people are gullible, they canʻt help it.

Brad Parsons did not, as most of the people in Kauai did not.

You should actually be thanking us for questioning the illegal tap into your taxes; which was to save the war makers money (because the federal government turned them down) and at the same time finance A PRIVATE BUSINESS. Wouldnʻt you like our tax dollars to do that for you too?

Anonymous said...

[N]unya, your quote below from an earlier post on another blog entry here speaks to your credibility:

"All the lies that surrounded Saddam too. Unbelievable. He never gassed his own people (citizens) he executed traitors"

-nunya



(Long live Kurdistan!!)

Anonymous said...

Hard for you people to stay focused on topic at hand so you jump into something else.

Thatʻs all I ʻve got to say and think Nunya or anybody shouldnʻt waste anymore time with mental cases like you.

Anonymous said...

"Hard for you people to stay focused on topic at hand so you jump into something else.

Thatʻs all I ʻve got to say and think Nunya or anybody shouldnʻt waste anymore time with mental cases like you."


As you see fit. So feel free to respond to:

November 14, 2008 1:42 PM,
November 14, 2008 1:46 PM,
November 14, 2008 3:01 PM, or
November 14, 2008 4:55 PM.