Sunday, April 27, 2008

Musings: Superferry Stuffs

What a difference a day can make. Yesterday was bright and sunny, and today I woke to haze and low clouds that rendered the interior mountains invisible.

As Koko and I walked in a world silent save for bird song, a pink-orange orb rose that more closely the moon than the sun, as it was so dimmed by haze that I could stare fully at it.

After luxuriating in the slow vibe of Lanai, it’s taking me a while to gear back up and sort through my numerous emails, many of which dealt with the Superferry.

I was very interested to learn of Friday’s announcement that Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, the former Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command and Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, has taken over John Garibaldi’s role as chairman of Hawaii Superferry.

While Fargo obviously has management experience, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s akamai about running a business that has to make money — a concept totally foreign to the military.

Fargo’s appointment, coming in the wake of the ferry’s truly dismal performance as a commercial vessel, does raise new questions about the military future of the ferry — a point that was also raised in the Star-Bulletin’s coverage yesterday, which included a comment from Kauai’s own Katy Rose (whose name was misspelled).

I found the comments that followed the story especially interesting, as they indicate the polarization caused by the big boat has not subsided a bit.

Meanwhile, Brad Parsons sent out a link to an Austal press release that addressed both the damage suffered by the Alakai and its high-speed performance in Sea State 6 conditions, which is one of the capabilities needed to qualify the design, if not the ship itself, for military service:

During the dry docking process, which was undertaken by a Hawaiian shipyard, the vessel sustained damage after the tug positioning “Alakai” lost power and collided heavily with the catamaran. Further damage was sustained after the local shipyard incorrectly blocked the vessel during drydocking.

Meanwhile, impressive footage of the 107 metre catamaran ferry operating at speed in estimated Sea State 6 conditions off the Hawaiian Islands coastline has appeared on YouTube. Crew onboard at the time reported that the vessel performed very well in the extreme operating conditions.

Constructed at Austal’s American shipyard located in Mobile, Alabama, the 107 metre “Alakai” is the largest high speed vessel ever built in the US — a title which will soon be transferred to the 127 metre trimaran Littoral Combat Ship, LCS-2 “Independence”, currently under construction at Austal USA.

And John Tyler of reports that HSF’s flack team has set up a meeting with Paul of Save Our Seas:

Their reported purpose, to tell Paul what their plans
 are...and both sides listen. Thank you Paul for mentioning this
casually to me, and no inference is made that anything unethical is
happening between our Environmental friends. 

Well, first off, Paul has said this is set up as a one on one
 presentation meeting to him. My take on that is, HSF wants to test the
 waters with Paul, who they likely see as a more receptive target, as SOS
 has taken a less aggressive stance of opposition than many groups, and
 Paul had a decent relationship with HSF Terry O'Halloran before Terry
 went on HSF payroll.

My read on this is HSF is looking to divide and conquer, spin their propaganda onto one or more moderately oriented environmental Kaua'i
 groups, and then hype their new "partnership" or approval by the said
 group in the media. They are clearly going for group leaders who haven't experienced their manipulative deceptions first hand before. 
Then HSF will plow right on in to Kaua'i with full advertising PR 
leading the way.... Kind of like getting their Hawaiian Cultural 
Practitioner to bless the Alakai, and get that same "practitioner" onto
the State's advisory board, but who then misses most of the advisory
 task force's meetings. This is a dog and pony show for Kaua'i environmental groups, but it does
 tip off HSF intent. 

Time to plan defending from phase two of the invasion in the works, 
sooner than later. And please let others in the groups know if HSF has 
been trolling to you too.

One nice thing about blogging is that so many people are following so many different issues that I don't have to be on top of everything, just merely in the loop, sifting the wheat from the chaff.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kauai Eclectic, for this very important "heads-up" as to how Superferry intends to deal with Kauai. Think about it -- their new CEO is a military tactician, a specialist in "divide and conquer" strategies. Let us remain aware, strong, united, and impervious. MALAMA I KAUAI! --From Koohan

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, Koohan. Here's a bit more.

UPDATE: Dick Mayer of Maui sent along this link to a really well-written and reported article by city editor Ed Tanji, the former Maui bureau chief for the Advertiser. Ed managed to report some new info on Fargo's appointment, including that JF Lehman is infusing significantly more capital into the operation.

The article also had this nugget:

Its planned Kauai operation remains shut down, with [outgoing CEO John] Garibaldi saying the company is focused on establishing its ability to provide “good, reliable service. . . . We want to get our Maui service going well first.”

“On Kauai, we’re still monitoring the situation,” he said.

If they're waiting until they get the Maui service going well, we might never see the Superferry on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

cut and paste from the star bulletin. the last post says it all:
kalapaki kid-Honolulu, HI

bow down to the omnipotent
the protests will continue
the people united
will never
be defeated