Ship’s stop off Molokai
bothers some residents

WAILUKU >> Some Molokai residents are upset that a cruise ship stopped off the island's north shore on Friday.

Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte said he was outraged to learn that the 348-foot Clipper Odyssey was stopping along the island's north coast and possibly sending passengers ashore to what he said is a conservation area used by local families for hunting and gathering.

Troy Brown of Waldron Steamship Co., the Hawaii agent for the ship, said none of the 128 passengers went ashore in Wailau Valley because the shoreline was too rough.

Brown said his agency had received written approval from the Department of Land and Natural Resources to stop along the north coast and take passengers ashore in inflatable Zodiac boats.

DLNR director Peter Young said department personnel on Maui told the cruise ship company and its agent that the proposed stop and Zodiac tours were not restricted and that no permit was required. He said it wasn't a matter of giving permission because no permit is required.

The incident raises questions on whether such visits should be restricted, Young said.

Ritte said Molokai residents should have been better informed about the ship planning a stop off the north coast.

The Odyssey specializes in educational, luxury trips, said Marc Gross, vice president of operations for Clipper Cruise Lines.

He said he suggested visiting Molokai's north shore because it was rugged, natural and unspoiled.

"It is a special part of Molokai, and it is a special experience for our clients," Gross said. "It is an area that is hardly, if ever, visited, and if we were permitted to go there, we saw no reason why we should not."


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