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HOST General Membership Meeting Minutes of August 9, 2001

 

Attendees:   35

 

Call to Order:              

The bi-monthly HOST General Membership meeting was held on Thursday, August 9, 2001.  The meeting was called to order by Robin Bond, Chair, at 2:10 p.m., at Club 14, USCG ISC Honolulu. Robin introduced Terry O’Halloran as the facilitator of this meeting.

 

“Whale Strike” Presentation:          

“Whale Strike – Collisions between whales and vessels” discussion was led by a panel consisting of Naomi McIntosh from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS), Jim Coon, Chairman of the HIHWNMS Advisory Committee, and Greg Kaufman from the Pacific Whale Foundation. 

 

Naomi informed the membership that although the number of whale strikes was unknown, the numbers were increasing.  A strike could be minor (scratch, with no blood in the water) to serious (blood in the water).  It was estimated that the whales were increasing at a rate of 5-7% a year.  The increased vessel traffic has had an impact on whale behavior.  Noise disturbs the whales, affects their behavior, and may lead to hearing loss. 

It is illegal to approach a whale from 100 yards.  The maximum penalty is $119,000.  

 

Jim has had meetings with the Tug and Barge industry to find ways to write laws that protects the whale, and doesn’t shut down the maritime industry in Hawaii.  If a vessel hits a whale, they have broken a law and the crew will be hesitant to report the situation.  The Advisory Committee is looking for mechanisms to gather data and mitigate actions that can be taken.  The federal government established penalty fees for all sanctuaries in the U.S., with no input from the region. 

 

Greg didn’t think the number of whale strikes in Hawaii was alarming.  When compared to the number of sharks and shark attacks in the U.S., the whale strike situation in Hawaii was minimal.  The strike collision has a negligible effect on the whales.  Of the 149 whales stranded over a 25-year period, ships struck only seven.  

 

Most vessels travel at 15 knots or greater.  With an increase of faster vessels in the water and an increase in the whale population, Hawaii needs to consider preventative measures.  Naomi said their program is having a workshop in 2002 (tentatively in March) to address some of these issues.  She has asked HOST to participate with this effort.

 

Hawaiian Islands Maps & Charts:           

Mr. Gerry Wheaton, a retired Commander from the NOAA Coast Survey, is working on a project to improve the nautical charts of the five main Hawaiian Islands.  The current charts and information are poor, don’t meet GPS standards, and need to be updated.  He would like HOST to participate with this project.  

 

Update on the Ehime Maru:             

Captain Gilbert Kanazawa informed the membership of the status of the recovery efforts of the Ehime Maru, and is the Federal On-Scene Coordinator of this challenging effort.  On June 15th, an environmental assessment was completed on the technical feasibility of recovering the remains of the Ehime Maru.  The findings of the assessment indicated that there is no significant impact to the environment.

 

Through the use of a remote, the Rockwater will drill a hole in the sediment, so straps can be placed under the vessel to prepare it to be lifted.  There is concern that the submarine rudder may have sliced through the bottom of the Ehime Maru.  After the vessel has been lifted, an assessment of the structural damage to the vessel will be completed through the use of roving cameras.  Once it has been determined that the structure is stable, the vessel will be moved to the reef runway, at a speed of one knot.  Roving cameras will follow the vessel, to ensure that no personal effects are left behind.  For more information, go to the Navy website at www.cpf.navy.mil. 

 

Announcements:           

1.  Christine Woolaway informed the membership of the “Get the Drift

and Bag It” day, which will be held on September 15th from 8-12 noon.  Last year, over 33,000 pounds of debris, covering over 140 miles of shoreline were recovered.  This is a modest estimation, since not all participants returned their response cards.  Matson is supporting this effort by providing containers for the collected debris, and disposing of it at the landfill.  To participate in this worthwhile project, contact Chris at 956-2872 for more information and to select a site to clean.

 

2.      Pat Pettigrew informed the membership of the upcoming Small Vessel Sub-Committee meeting, to assist DLNR with administrative safety rules to be considered by the State Legislature.  DLNR has indicated that if the industry can come up with a better solution for safety, they would be willing to listen to it.  If you are interested in participating, please talk to Pat or Chris. 

 

Adjournment:               

The meeting was adjourned at 1608.

The next General Membership meeting will be on October 18th, at 1400.