Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Are we being used by the Superferry?
Joan Conrow has researched and presented a series of articles on the Superferry and its military ambitions. The series appears on her blog, KauaiEclectic, and there will also be something in Wednesday's Honolulu Weekly, according to Joan's post today.
I hesitate to quote a snippet because it doesn't represent the breadth or depth of Joan's writing, but I'll dare to quote just two little paragraphs that are of interest to me:
A March 2005 Pacific Business News article that announced Lehman was joining the HSF board stated: “With Lehman's expertise, the Superferry plans to operate a Westpac Express, essentially to carry military equipment and ferry vehicles from Oahu to the Big Island on a daily basis.”
The article continues: “This logistical plan will make it easier for soldiers to train when the Stryker Brigade comes to Hawaii. The brigade will be stationed on Oahu and conduct training exercises on the Big Island, Lehman said. "The Superferry is strong enough to take Stryker vehicles," he said.
Not that this was a secret, except possibly to those who don't read many blogs. The mainstream press certainly hasn't kept on this issue (parenthetically: nor do they seem to be interested in doing independent ridership analysis, instead they just quote whatever numbers they are fed by the ferry company). Some questioning did take place during the special session that gave the Superferry its green light to go. Ouch! Is it permissible to use the words "green" and "Superferry" in the same sentence, considering how much oil it is burning?
Could it be that the ferry needed to get its EIS exemption to sail so that it will be available to the military, and that it doesn't care much about passengers at all? Look how easily they gave up the second Maui run. Oh, sorry, Mayor Tavares, we'll just cancel the plan, it's ok. We'll do more outreach. Shucks, we'll double the outreach we're already doing. Triple it, even.
Don't mind me, I'm getting a bit tired of all the Superferry shenanigans. If a business plan requires two trips, then how can half the business plan just be canceled?
In announcing the second trip to Maui on Jan. 4, John Garibaldi, president and CEO of Hawaii Superferry, said "our business model is dependent on running two trips per day." [Honolulu Advertiser, 1/15/2008]
So much for their business model. Or could they be looking to fail in the civilian business as part of a larger model?
I'm sure we'll find out eventually what's up here. In the meantime, the safety of whales, the environment, Maui agriculture (the bee thing and more), and Maui's quality of life for its residents remain valid and ongoing concerns.
Those on Oahu who say we are all one state should ask themselves, well then, if you feel that way, what about caring for and protecting our neighbors? Hmmm?
I’ve asked a few times with no response if anyone can track down the veracity of the statement that HSF cannot get a military contract until it has been in operation for six months- I’ve look a little but cannot verify this- can anyone out there?
If it is true it would explain a lot.
If that's true, we're all gonna barf together when we realize how we've been taken for a ride.
Can anyone out there help Andy with the info he's asking for?
I don't believe they have to operate for 6 months to get the contract. This ship is one of only a few similar ships made by Austal in the U.S. Incat has much more of a track record making fast ferries used by the military. Austal/USA just needs to show through some operations that fast ferries made at their US shipyard are as seaworthy as the more proven Incat ships made elsewhere but already in more use by the military. Incat has the upper leg on technology and track record. Austal just needs to show they can build these JHSV in the U.S. to gain back some advantage in the bidding process. The 6 months minimum is just how long I think they are prepared to take losses to show this seaworthiness. Aloha, Brad
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