GREGG KAKESAKO / GKAKESAKO@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Three new tugboats -- the ASD Kaimana Hila, Daniel Akaka and Patsy Mink -- that were built at the Kewalo Shipyard will be christened tomorrow afternoon. Eric Tang, captain of the ASD Patsy Mink, describes the 94-foot tugboat as "very versatile and highly maneuverable."
Pearl Harbor boats will be dedicated
to Mink, Inouye and Akaka tomorrow
Thursday, July 7, 2005
» "Kaimana Hila" is a song used by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's political campaign. An article on Page A13 Sunday about a University of Hawaii endowment honoring Inouye incorrectly said it was the unofficial song of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
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Hawaii's congressional delegation -- at least by name -- is afloat in Pearl Harbor.
Three tugboats, operated by P&R Water Taxi, are named after U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink. However, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye opted to have his 94-foot tugboat named the ASD Kaimana Hila.
Charlie Pires, P&R Water Taxi owner, said the four tugboats were named after Hawaii's congressional delegation to recognize their support for Hawaii's maritime industry and a strong Navy presence in Hawaii.
David Germroth, P&R Water Taxi spokesman, said Pires "felt the delegation was helpful to small businesses like his to compete for federal contracts."
The Navy awarded P&R Water Taxi $29 million last year to manage port operations in Pearl Harbor and an additional $22 million to run the tugboat fleet. Both contracts are for five years, Germroth said.
Germroth said "Kaimana Hila" was the unofficial theme song of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, where Inouye served in World War II and earned the Medal of Honor fighting in Italy. The unit was made up mainly of Japanese Americans who volunteered shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 to prove their loyalty.
The popular song refers to the most famous landmark in Waikiki, Kaimana Hila, or Diamond Head. It also talks about a moonlight outing, surfing and the old racetrack at Kapiolani Park.
Mike Yuen, Inouye spokesman, said the senator picked the song to honor Diamond Head, but acknowledged that it was Inouye's campaign song early in his political career.
Yuen said Inouye "is reluctant to have things named after him."
However, a building at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Bethesda, Md., and the federal center in Battle Creek, Mich., where Inouye convalesced after World War II bear his name. Former Sen. Bob Dole and the late Sen. Phil Hart also were treated there at the same time as Inouye.
The three senators were among nearly 100,000 American soldiers injured in World War II and the Korean War who were treated at what was once a military hospital. It was renamed the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center last June.
Although the ASD Kaimana Hila, Akaka and Mink will be christened tomorrow afternoon at Pearl Harbor, they have been helping warships in and out of the naval base since October.
Akaka; Inouye; Abercrombie; Eugene Takemoto, Mink's brother; and Rep. Ed Case, who replaced Mink, are scheduled to attend tomorrow's ceremony. The ASD Abercrombie -- part of what a P&R Water Taxi official described as "the congressional-class fleet" -- was christened and placed into service in April 2002.
The tugboats were designed and built at the Kewalo Shipyard, which is owned by P&R Water Taxi, and make up a new class of high-performance tug designed by naval architect Donald Stoddard, of Stoddard Marine Design of Hilo.
When Pires assumed control of the Pearl Harbor tugboat operations in October, it was the first time in 14 years that a small business in Hawaii was able to win the contract.
Eric Tang, skipper of the Mink, described the 94-foot tugboat as "very versatile and highly maneuverable."
Because all the tugboats have a special propulsion and steering system, Tang said they can "pull at high throttle in any direction."
Tang said that a conventional tugboat can only pull at high throttle going forward.