Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Rough Superferry ride story really is in your morning paper, if you can find it
by Larry Geller
When I lived in Coney Island we could pay 50 cents to ride the Roller Coaster, but I don’t think that’s what passengers on the Superferry had in mind when they signed up for what turned out to be a very rough trip. Yesterday it was bad enough that there was vehicle damage as well.
Today’s Disappeared News contest challenges you to find the story in your morning Advertiser. I’m not making fun of them, they tried very hard to hide this story and yet they failed. I was able to locate it after a bit of a hunt. .
Ok, I am making fun of them. Yet their effort should be recognized
The obfuscation is interesting. After all, it’s important news, but news that maybe they don’t want readers to see. Advertisers pay the bills, of course, and Hawaii Superferry is a big advertiser.
What a dilemma for editors. How to publish it and yet keep it quiet?
So if you enjoy a challenge, stop reading this for a moment and see if you can find the article in your own morning paper. It’s there, I assure you.
KGMB reported on yesterday’s rough Superferry ride, including the now-famous video of the ship pitching up and down off Molokai. Probably this was the first time that non-web-surfing TV viewers had a chance to see that scary video. KGMB reported on yesterday’s trip:
"The boat was raised high into the air and slapping the bottom onto the ocean," said one passenger who didn't want to be identified.
That passenger said, she and more than half the passengers were vomiting at the end of the three hour trip.
KGMB reported that 13 vehicles aboard suffered minor damage.
Ok, where was the article hidden in the Advertiser?
My search for the story in the morning paper
I looked and looked for the story. It wasn’t in the main section, it wasn’t on the front page of the Hawaii section. It wasn’t even on the obituary page, where Superferry stories had run in the past.
Yet it must be in there somewhere, they must know that I would chastise them if it weren’t. So where could it be?
Maybe it’s in the “Communities” news block under Maui. No, not there. Aha! Here it is! A new “community” is born: Ka Iwi Channel. Just for Superferry news perhaps, I don’t think it’s an exciting neighborhood normally.
Up till now you’ve had to depend on the blogs for news of Ka Iwi Channel. I see that Brad Parsons posted in the wee hours of the morning, citing an Advertiser breaking news clip, which omits mentioning vehicle damage:
The company said the conditions caused some parked vehicles to shift during transit.
That totally inadequate story (gee, is “shifting” now news?) also omitted that passengers were sickened on the trip. Readers’ comments filled in the reportorial omission. Here’s one:
My family and I were on this particular voyage...rough doesn't begin to describe the ride. We've caught the superferry 8 times so far and this was the worst we've ever felt. I can honestly say that this experience has made me decide that I never want to catch the Superferry again. I don't want to take my chances. I estimate that more than 90% of the passengers were vomiting from the moment we passed Diamond Head. There was about 1.5 hours of relative calm while we were sailing between Molokai and Lanai and then the second storm of nauseous attacks began. Our boat was suppose to land at noon, but we docked at around 12:40. I did notice that the captain did slow the boat down at times when the seas seemed insane.My wish is that the Superferry would have some decency to cancel voyages when they know that seas are bad...or at least give passengers the option of rebooking/getting a refund on those days. One thing I may add is that the staff aboard was EXCELLENT & HELPFUL... iron stomachs!
This trip should raise many questions, in particular about whether the company should be sailing under the sea conditions experienced yesterday. Also, how sanitary were things while the majority of passengers were barfing? Whether “more than half” or “more than 90%,” that’s a lot of barf on deck.
The Superferry management is smart enough to calculate the barf index for a particular day themselves, or they could consult Brad Parson’s Barf-O-Meter to learn the methodology. If seas are rough, why subject passengers to intense physical discomfort?
With the State Supreme Court about to rule on the legality of Act 2, and with the possibility of new
Superferry “large capacity passenger ferry” legislation in the upcoming legislative session, shouldn’t the newspapers be paying some real attention to how well this venture is going?
I decided to verify how many "large capacity ferry vessels" there are built in the U.S., and farmed the question out to an industry expert. He came back with the same information I did:
From: John ... (...@navigator...com)
Sent: Tue 1/06/09 9:50 AM
From Larry ...:
Brad: the only US ferries operating with at least 500 passengers and 200 cars are the Hawaii Superferry and the two Jumbo Mark II Class belonging to the Washington State Ferry System with 202 cars and 2500 people. At least that is all I can find searching my files and the web sites for North Carolina, New York City and Washington state.
--- On Mon, 1/5/09, John ... <...@...mariner.com>
To: Larry ... <...@yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, January 5, 2009, 9:13 AM
Larry do you know the answer to this question or how to find it?
From: Brad ... <...@hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009
Re: Questions...for Larry...?
I have a question. Passenger ferries built in the United States that can carry at least 500 people and 200 vehicles, do you know how many there are and which ones they are? I have made an initial effort to find the information, just want to verify what I found.