Friday, October 1, 1999

Tour boat operator

Pacific Marine, citing fewer
Japanese tourists and a changing
market, plans to cut its staff

By Russ Lynch


Day-tour operator Royal Hawaiian Cruises will start downsizing its operations next week, laying off an unspecified number of workers, because of the decline in Japanese tourists, increased competition and Hawaii's continuing economic stagnation.

The parent company, Pacific Marine & Supply Ltd., said it will cut its tour-boat schedules and is looking into leasing its vessels out to other operators or bringing in joint-venture partners. Some employees may be transferred to other operations within Pacific Marine, the company said.

Mike Schmicker, a Pacific Marine vice president, said today that staffing numbers are uncertain now and the company will be looking at its entire operations and testing new ways of working more efficiently.

Royal Hawaiian operates the 400-passenger, twin-hull dinner boat Navatek I in waters off Oahu. On Kauai it has the 149-passenger Navatek II, the 49-passenger Na Pali Explorer adventure boat, and two 24-passenger adventure boats. On Maui it has two 49-passenger adventure boats and one 24-passenger boat.

Steven Loui, Pacific Marine president, said that while Royal Hawaiian Cruises is highly visible, its operations produce only about 20 percent of Pacific Marine's annual revenues of $50 million.

Pacific Marine's main business is ship designing, building and repairing ships.

A research and development subsidiary, Navatek Ships Ltd., boosted its sales to $10 million last year, working out practical ship-design applications from a Navy-funded program to develop high-speed surface ships.

Loui said the company's contract to manage a high-speed hydrofoil commuter ferry operation for the state, in a demonstration project linking Aloha Tower and the Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor, due to start Oct. 18, is not affected by the upcoming changes.

He said the idea of joint-venture partnerships or leasing out some of the cruise operations is not new. "We have profitably partnered in the past with mainland and local operators. It's something we're familiar and comfortable with," he said.

E-mail to Business Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin