Harbor security will protect public safety
The Coast Guard has made most of a Maui harbor a security zone from the time the Superferry nears until it has departed.
RESTRICTIONS placed on Maui's Kahului Harbor for the Hawaii Superferry's entry and exit
might seem overbearing, but the dangerous scene at Nawiliwili Harbor
on Kauai three months ago calls for assurance of public safety. The restraints should be lifted after it can be assured that no threat exists.
When the Superferry made its inaugural voyage from Oahu to Kauai, about 50 protesters entered the harbor's waters, some on surfboards, others on boogie boards. The ship was forced out of the harbor and was kept from discharging all its passengers for more than three hours.
After court battles and a special session of the Legislature to allow the Superferry's interisland travels, it is scheduled to resume operation Dec. 6. The Coast Guard has ordered that the harbor's waters, except for a small strip fronting the Hawaiian Canoe Club, be reserved for the ferry from an hour before its scheduled arrival to 10 minutes after it departs.
Imposition of the security zone likely will be an inconvenience because the harbor is a popular spot for surfers. Those who dare enter the waters during the restrictive time will face possible seizure of their gear, including surfboards, and felony charges that could land them in prison for up to 10 years or face fines of up to $10,000, plus civil penalties.
A protest is planned for Dec. 8 by groups including Maui Tomorrow, the Sierra Club and the Pacific Whale Foundation. Irene Bowie, executive director of Maui Tomorrow, says she was "stunned by the heavy- handedness" of the restrictions, but they should not interfere with what Bowie told the Maui News will be a "peaceful and lawful gathering."
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