Monday, December 3, 2007

Musings: Enforcing Security Zones

The rain, the chill and a small sore throat kept me in bed later than usual, and I’m still facing a major story deadline this morning, so I’m going to save the piece I’d planned to do — on political will, or rather, the lack of it — until tomorrow.

Instead, I wanted to bring your attention to an article in today’s Garden Island about an apparent change in the Coast Guard’s policy about the Nawiliwili “security zone.”

First, I find it quite interesting that the Coast Guard is now consistently using the word “temporary” in regard to the zone, a trend that began last week after Maui folks objected to the imposition of a similar zone in Kahului Harbor.

The latest twist on the Kauai zone is the CG won’t actually shut down the harbor when, and if, Hawaii Superferry ever returns, but “it will require that those aboard watercraft get its permission to enter and exit,” according to the article.

It includes this quote from Lt. John Tichen: “We have heard concerns that people won’t be able to surf, or access shoreline to fish. Our intention is to work with the state and county ensuring everyone has the opportunity to use that harbor.”

Apparently, surfers and swimmers still will have to stay out of the water for an hour prior to the ferry’s arrival until 10 minutes after it departs. But boats may be able to go in and out if they get approval.

“Officially, the Coast Guard says part of the temporary security zone permission could be as simple as a ‘radio-OK’ when coming and going,” the article reports. ”During the security zone enforcement period, the Coast Guard will request that all watercraft — including outrigger canoes — get permission by radio.”

This prompted Katy Rose, of the Kauai Alliance for Peace and Social Justice, to raise an intriguing point in an email: “Will there be discrimination in the granting of permission?”

It’s a good question, because unless the policy is cleared spelled out, it can be enforced in an arbitrary, and possibly discriminatory, manner. I’m not sure if such qualifying phrases as “could be as simple as a radio OK” came from the CG or the reporter. But with serious fines and jail time at stake, it’s important everyone is on the same page in this frequently rewritten book.

Another interesting tidbit from the article: “The present zone extends to the end of December, Titchen said, and can be renewed into perpetuity for 30-day periods every first of the month.”

Lifting the zone “relies on several successful vessel transits first,” the article reports.

Finally, thanks to Larry Geller for posting the link to this Akaku interview with Coast Guard officials on Maui. Superferry is set to make a practice run tomorrow to re-align with the Kahului barge and do a training run in preparation for Thursday’s real voyage with cars and passengers.

Now that ought to be interesting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like the ferry won't be going to Kahului tomorrow as planned. The surges in the harbor today caused the mooring lines to the barge to break again, and it also broke the lines securing the NCL ship too. Dec. 6 might not happen after all if the ferry can't get to Maui to realign itself with the barge.