Coast Guard Details Superferry Developments As Employees Rally

Captain Vince Atkins
Captain Vince Atkins

(KHNL) Honolulu - Employees of the Hawaii Superferry demonstrate on Oahu, to show their support. While, the US Coast Guard details plans to keep future demonstrations, in the water, from interrupting Superferry service.

According to the Coast Guard, protests like the one in Nawiliwili harbor on August 27th which stopped the Superferry from docking, will be a thing of the past.

The Coast Guard will set up a fixed security zone in the harbor and around the ship. And back it up with strong punishments for protestors who violate the zone. "The best way for us to avoid confrontation, inside Nawiliwili harbor is for people to demonstrate peacefully, safely and legally in pre-designated areas. The Coast Guard will bring additional resources to insure the safety of the public and security of the vessel." says Captain Vince Atkins, with the Coast Guard.

Those opposed to the Superferry will only be allowed to protest between Kalapaki beach and Kuki'i point at Kauai's harbor.

Last week, the Superferry suspended service to the garden isle after the escalating protests. Leaving employees waiting to get back to work and frustrated their future is up in the air.

"We don't know where our jobs are. Right now, we wait to see if the courts will rule in favor of us or the opposition. As the days drag on our frustration will get higher cause it boils down to whether or not we got a job." says Mack Kahumoku, a Superferry employee.

But a demonstration in Honolulu, drew support from passing drivers, boosting employee's morale and adding to the positive feedback many of the Superferry workers have already received.

"We get tons of support, we get hundreds of emails, hundreds of voice mails a day, supporting the Superferry." says Carol Peebles.

Most are optimistic their work stoppage will be brief. Some even feel the Kauai protestors will eventually see the Superferry as a positive thing.

"One day they'll realize the importance of it, then they'll be the very ones using the ferry, one day." says Ipo Waiwaiole.

In the meantime, the Coast Guard has made it a federal offense for protesters to come within a hundred yards of the Superferry or the harbor entrance during docking.