Security for ferry upsets protesters
A zone set around the vessel is broader than some opponents were anticipating
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Hawaii Superferry opponents are crying foul over the Coast Guard's security plans for the ferry's return to Maui next week.
Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie said the security zone around the Superferry is broader than she expected and appears to be overkill given the absence of civil disobedience on the Valley Isle.
"I'm stunned by the heavy-handedness of this," she said. "I think with this there's going to be a lot more people alienated."
Vessels and surfboards could be confiscated and violators arrested on a felony charge if a security zone is breached around the Superferry as it completes its Oahu-Maui transit into Kahului Harbor starting Dec. 6, the Coast Guard warned yesterday in announcing security plans for the ferry's return.
A protest at the harbor is scheduled for Dec. 8.
Gov. Linda Lingle said she does not have concerns about protests on Maui. "Generally speaking, I think people will respect the law," she said.
The Superferry halted service to Kauai in August after protesters entered the water and blocked the harbor entrance.
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WAILUKU » Vessels and surfboards could be confiscated and forfeited and violators could face up to 10 years in prison if a security zone around the Hawaii Superferry is breached during its transit into Kahului Harbor, the Coast Guard warns.
A felony conviction could also result in a criminal fine of up to $10,000 and civil penalties of up to $32,500 for each violation, the Coast Guard noted yesterday as it issued its security guidelines for the ferry's return to Maui. The Coast Guard, along with state, federal and county agencies, plans to enforce a security zone around the Superferry at Kahului Harbor beginning with its startup on Dec. 6.
A protest rally has been planned for Dec. 8 by some groups, including Maui Tomorrow, the Sierra Club and the Pacific Whale Foundation.
Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie said the rally will be peaceful and was scheduled for a Saturday to make attendance easier for those working during the week.
Bowie said the security zone is broader than she expected and appears to include the small boat launch, surfing areas and places where people go diving for octopus.
"This looks pretty heavy-handed coming to an island with no civil disobedience," Bowie said. "I'm stunned by the heavy-handedness of this. I think with this there's going to be a lot more people alienated."
Gov. Linda Lingle said she had not been formally briefed on the Coast Guard's enforcement plans, but she did speak with Maui officials and Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara over the weekend.
"I really don't have any concerns on Maui," Lingle told the Star-Bulletin yesterday. "I have tremendous confidence in the people of Maui as well as in the Coast Guard, the police department and the sheriffs.
"I think everyone is anticipating a good sailing for Superferry into Kahului, but preparing in case some people decide to break the law as a means of expressing themselves. I hope no one does.
"The mayor has been out in front asking people to follow the law and be respectful of those who want to travel on the ferry.
"Generally speaking, I think people will respect the law."
The Coast Guard yesterday announced it has established fixed and moving security zones at Kahului Harbor to ensure the safe passage of the Hawaii Superferry during an expected protest rally.
Coast Guard officials said the moving security zone will extend 100 yards around the Superferry Alakai and the 100-yard, standoff distance is activated anywhere within 3 nautical miles of the harbor's entrance.
"No one is permitted within this moving security zone at any time while the zone is activated," the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard said the fixed security zone will be activated one hour before the vessel Alakai's arrival into Kahului Harbor and will be deactivated 10 minutes after the Alakai's departure.
The fixed security zone includes all of the waters of Kahului Harbor, Pier No. 2; the eastern and western breakwaters at the entrance to the harbor; and waters leading to the harbor approaches, except for a designated shoreline access area.
The exempted area, not a part of the security zone, includes a portion of southwestern shoreline and nearby waters fronting the Hawaiian Canoe Club and designated by buoys.
The Coast Guard said no person or vessel may enter or remain in a fixed security zone without the permission of the captain of the port of Honolulu or his designated representative.
Coast Guard officials said no one may enter the moving 100-yard security zone around the Alakai while such a zone is activated.
Persons who desire to transit through the fixed security zone while it is activated may contact the captain of the port Honolulu, at (808) 927-0865, or on VHF channel 12.
Star-Bulletin reporter B.J. Reyes contributed to this report.