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GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

February 17, 2005


 

Robin Bond, opened the meeting and introduced the Agenda. The meeting was held at the Honolulu Community College Maritime Training Center and had 33 attendees.

 

Harbor Congestion Panel

 

Panel members include Kim Beasley, Troy Brown, Brad Rimell, Hall Silva of DLNR Lahaina and Jeff Connors.     Kim Beasley acted as facilitator.  

 

The panel discussed the various impacts to shipping transportation due to increased harbor use and limited infrastructure.   The format of the discussion was such that an assigned panel member would discuss briefly the various operational impacts from the point of view of their special knowledge.     Then other panel members and the general HOST membership would provide further discussion.

 

INCREASED USE

 

Inter-island Fuel Transportation  -  Kim Beasley

 

Kim discussed the growing demand for neighbor island fuel deliveries.    Growing demand is coming from a general increase in economic growth and population and is directly associated to an increase in demand for fuels for more cars and more electricity.     In addition there is greater demand for Jet-A fuel for the neighbor islands due to “jumbo” jet arrivals at neighbor island airports from the mainland and Japan .  This is a relatively new trend and a change from the days when travel to and from Hawaii was direct from Honolulu .    This means more transportation of Jet-A from Oahu to the neighbor islands.   All of this increase in demand has required that fuel transportation companies invest in, not only more modern, but significantly larger inter-island barges with greater capacity.     These larger capacity barges often require longer delivery times.     This increase in use adds to the pressure on port capacity.        

 

Comments

 

Comments from the other panel members and the general membership included discussion related to scheduling issues and security zone conflicts caused by cruise ship visits.    These Security Zone conflicts seem to have been resolved by the Coast Guard clarifying that the Security Zones around cruise ships are not exclusion zones but rather “control” zones.  

 

It was also pointed out that bulk liquid deliveries are limited to specific piers in many Hawaii harbors and this further puts pressure on these activities.

 

Cruise Ship Arrivals  -  Troy Brown

 

Troy discussed the future of cruise ship travel in and around the Hawaiian Islands .    There is a definite increase in cruise ship activity that already finds pier space conflicts in scheduling for future use.   The difference between the long term planning required for cruise ship activities versus the more flexible shorter range planning required for fuel and dry cargo deliveries, in conjunction with the State Harbors current policies for reserving pier space, is a source of concern for the entire maritime community.

 

Overall we see three types of cruise ships operating in Hawaii .   We have the locally resident ships such as the Pride of Aloha and the Norwegian Wind.   These vessels concentrate their activities to Hawaii and, in the case of the Norwegian Wind, Fanning Island .   In addition, we see an increase in activity during the winter months caused by vessels that sail in the northwest to Alaska , seeking warmer weather in Hawaii .   The third type of cruise ship traffic comes from the “world travelers” such as the Queen Elizabeth II.   In all, a look at the harbor schedules of the not to distant future reveals a berth space schedule of startling magnitude.    In addition, we expect to see the arrival of two more resident cruise ships in late 2005 and 2006.

 

Comments

 

General comments included a discussion on the fact that there are conflicts on arrival and departure times caused by the nature of cruise ship activities.    They like to arrive in the early morning and stay in port all day, leaving at sunset.    This ties up pier space during the daylight hours when most other activities also occur.    Greater coordination could help the arrival and departure conflicts.

 

Super Ferry  -  Terry White

 

Terry White was not available to discuss the new Super Ferry but Kim pointed out that it looks as though the Super Ferry will receive government approval.    This will require infrastructure improvements that may tax limited harbor space.   It will also mean greater pressure on harbor use and pier access for loading and off-loading operations.

 

No Comments

 

Commercial and Recreational Conflicts.  -  Canoes in Kahului and elsewhere.   Troy Brown/Jeff Conners

 

Troy discussed the operational and navigational conflicts often caused by the competing interests of commercial and recreational users.    This is directly related to the co-location of commercial and recreational interests within the geographical confines our harbors.  Timing is also an issue as it is not unusual for afternoon paddlers to compete for navigational space with commercial vessels wanting to depart before sunset.    In addition, although the commercial interests can be in communications, it is not unusual for paddles not to have VHF communications capability.

 

 

Comments

 

General comments focused on the need for education and  better communications capability.

 

Expanding “Day Cruise” Commercial Activities  -  Brad Rimell

 

Brad discussed the growing problem of DLNR small boat harbor conflicts as well as the expansion of “Day Cruise” small commercial activities with large commercial activity.     Port Allen on the island of Kauai has seen the “commercial” pier taken over by “Day Cruise” activities that place fuel deliveries in conflict with passenger/tourist excursions.  This has safety implications that have yet to be fully resolved.   Initially these day cruise activities were conducted from the DLNR small boat harbor.   They were forced to the commercial piers due to the conflict between the “Day Cruise” small commercial activities and the DLNR small boat harbor activities.

 

Kawaihae has many of the same problems.   At this harbor DLNR small boat harbor vessels, including sailboats and pleasure craft, are anchored within the commercial turning basin.     On windy days there is potential for commercial vessels to contact these recreational vessels and cause damage.

 

Comments

 

General comments regarding HOST’s involvement in trying to help resolve the Kawaihae conflicts were made.    The answer here is the clear need to complete the improvements to the DLNR small boat harbor.

 

Expansion to smaller diversified ports  -  Jeff Conner

 

Jeff Conner of NCL discussed the efforts by cruise ship operators to diversify their operations to some of the smaller ports.    This is the rational behind going to ports such as Lahaina and Kailua Kona.    There are several problems with this.    One is the fact that communities have resisted expansion to some of the areas proposed.   Everyone is familiar with the results of the suggestion that a cruise ship stop at Molokai .   Other suggested areas have included a proposal to stop at Kaneohe Bay .    This has also met with little enthusiasm on a number of fronts including navigational safety.

 

Another important consideration is that locations such as Lahaina and Kailua Kona don’t have pier space adequate to berth a cruise ship.   This means that the passengers must be shuttled to and from the ships causing congestion and conflicts with other activities including swimming and day charter vessels, recreational vessels and “day cruise” small commercial activities.   Two cruise ships anchored off of Lahaina or Kailua Kona, both trying to reload 1,000 passengers between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm while going through “security” can cause a big disruption at the piers.     Due to these types of concerns and considerations, the cruise ships tend to evolve to the commercial harbors and pier spaces.    No Comments

 

LIMITED INFRASTRUCTURE

 

Kim Beasley, the panel facilitator, guided the panel to a discussion of the realities of harbor limitations in Hawaii .    The first limitation to our harbors is geographical.   The “natural” harbor spaces limit expansion and future improvements to infrastructure will cost significant monies for redevelopment to improve efficiencies.   Expansion will have to come from dredging in many cases.    The State’s willingness to spend money to improve infrastructure has been slow in coming.  Pier 2 development is going slowly.    The Pier 19 area is too short for cruise ships even though that is the area of the new cruise ship terminal.   Ferry pier development hasn’t really started and in some cases the plans are conflicted.

 

The panel concluded that relief for harbor congestion by means of improved harbor facilities will not happen soon, and that every means of operating more efficiently must be explored to help the harbors meet their mission.

 

CAN WE IMPROVE ON OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES

 

The focus of the panel discussion turned to possible operational improvements that may help improve harbor efficiency.

 

Better Harbor Scheduling

 

A great deal of discussion focused on the need for an improved commercial harbor scheduling process.    Everything from a reevaluation on the sign-up prioritization policy to improved communications protocols between operational parties and harbor masters.   It was generally felt that pier reservation policy was inordinately favorable to cruise ships, but a change in policy here would take time and effort.    Changes in communications protocols were felt to be reasonably doable in the short term and would be an opportunity to make good improvements with a minimum of effort.   Such changes as having more harbor control in the manner of Aloha Tower movement control for the neighbor island ports were thought to be a opportunity to de-conflict arrivals and departures.   

 

In addition, solid support for a centralized state-wide scheduling system was apparent.    Many companies such as Hawaii Pilots and NCL are already tracking scheduling on a state-wide basis.    Current procedure has companies contacting the various ports to schedule port calls independently.     It was generally felt by the group the efficiencies in communication and coordination would be realized if all parties contacted one centralized control point.    It was also felt that this could be accomplished redirecting manpower currently employed at multiple locations to a centralized location on Oahu .   This would mean that no additional expenditures would be required.   A 24 hour contact would be helpful in de-conflicting last minute adjustments to arrival and departure times.

 

Following up on the possibility of improved harbor controls, Kim Beasley introduced Mr. Hal Silva of the DLNR from Lahaina Harbor to discuss the efforts by his group to control the vessel traffic in and out of the heavily congested DLNR small boat harbor at Lahaina.    Activities there include cruise ship tender vessels, fishing charters, day excursion vessels and recreational vessels all competing to load, unload and refuel vessels.     He has taken it upon himself to actively stand up a control officer at the pier to direct vessel movements.   He has done this to great success and without any increase in money or resources.    It is a drain on his ship but, again, has met with great success.     Unfortunately, a similar effort has not be made for the Kailua-Kona pier area and at that location the mix of traffic even includes recreational swimmers at the beach immediately adjacent to the pier.

 

The efforts of Mr. Silva met with favorable response from the panel members and general membership alike.    It was also pointed out that HOST has produced a training video for tender vessel operators.  This approach could also be expanded to include training on harbor controls if this should be realized at both Lahaina and Kailua Kona.

 

Conclusion/Comments

 

In summarizing the panel discussion it was clear that harbor congestion is getting worse.   This is caused by a combination of increased use and limited infrastructure.   In the absence of improved facilities anything we can do to improve efficiency should be explored and as soon as possible.

 

Bill Anonsen and Rene Mansho suggested that we look for opportunities to let the Legislature know of the product of this discussion.

 

Update on USCG Maritime Security Zones  -  LTJG Quincey Adams

 

LTJG Quincey Adams reported that as of this time no comments have been made to the docket on the proposed changes to the Maritime Security Zones.    She outline the changes proposed which include subdividing the Keehi Lagoon Zone in three zones for greater delineation of controlled areas, and a change to the cruise ship control zone to a 100 yard area around the transiting cruise ship.

 

She invited people interested to make comments to the docket.

 

Legislative Updates  -  Richard Rice, DLNR

 

Richard Rice, State DLNR DOBOR Administrator passed out a “Budget Facts”   for more information check “AHI Alliance for Harbor Improvement”:

 

http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dbor/pdf/Ahi%20book020105.pdf . 

 

There seems to be little public interest in the fee rate legislation.  The 10% GET bill was not favored by the legislature that didn’t like it.  The Bill clarifying Ala Wai Leasing is not going anywhere.  An important message to legislators is that 80% of them have a harbor in their district.

 

Approval of the revisions to SOP 9-98  -  Temporary Shelter for Foreign Vessel Crews  -  Robin

 

Robin reported that the update on the SOP 9-98 was complete.   Essentially any reference to the use of the International Seafarer’s Union Hall was removed, and new contact numbers for the agencies involved in such a situation were updated.  He asked for approval of the changes by the General Membership.   Hearing no discussion or objections the update was approved by consensus.

 

Announcements and Adjournment

 

Robin asked if the State or the USCG had any announcements.    Hearing none, the meeting was adjourned.