Cruise lines to hold
meeting on Molokai

The talks will gauge interest
in ferrying people to the island

Two cruise lines will hold a meeting Thursday because of criticism for plans to bring passengers to Molokai.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Kalana O Iwi building at Kalamaula in central Molokai.

Tom Dow, vice president of public affairs for Princess Cruises, said neither his company nor Holland America Line Inc. has any immediate plans to have their passenger ships visit Molokai.

Some residents, citing worries about environmental impacts on the coastal waters, oppose the visits, while some merchants support the planned stops by cruise ships.

Holland America's ship Statendam canceled a scheduled stop Dec. 28, noting high winds in the channel would make landing difficult. Princess Cruises had also said it might plan a stop there.

Earlier this year, the cruise lines announced they would cancel stops on Molokai until they met with residents.

Dow said the reason for the meeting is to fulfill a promise made by the two cruise lines to speak with the residents.

Dow said plans to make visits to Molokai were halted for several reasons, including a request by several state legislators to meet with residents and also because of rough water and weather conditions in the channel.

Dow said several people have expressed an interest in having a cruise line ferry passengers from Lahaina to Kaunakakai.

"We said we would be interested in how much interest there was in the community in this kind of a program," Dow said. "If there is, we would be willing to investigate it."

Walter Ritte, a spokesman for the Hawaiian environmental group Hui Ho'opakele Aina, said he was pleased that the cruise lines were holding the discussion.

"If we had sat down this way, there would have been no hard feelings. We're hoping this is going to be something that people can look at and say, 'Oh, that's how you do business on Molokai.'"


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