Hawaii Ocean Safety Team

Membership Meeting


Call To Order

Chairman Robin Bond opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. 32 members attended. Introductions were made and Rusty Nall, representing American Marine Services was introduced as the first speaker.

AGENDA Item #1  –  Ala Wai Canal Dredging Project Presentation by Rusty Nall

Rusty introduced the project engineer Mr. Mark Nishikawa to assist in his presentation.

Rusty opened his presentation by outlining the areas defined in the scope of work for the project.   They are as follows.

Area One.     This area is defined as the area between Ala Moana Bridge to McCully Bridge.    A channel 28 ft. wide by 12 ft. deep will be dredged in this area.

Area Two       This area is defined as the area between McCully Bridge to narrowing of the canal on the ewa side of the Waikiki Library building.   This is the main body of the canal.   In this area a channel 150 ft. wide by 10 ft. deep will be dredged.

Area Three     This area is defined as the area that narrows adjacent to the Waikiki Library.    This is the area at the most Diamond Head end of the main canal.     This area is defined as a separate area due to historical pollution.     At this time it is not known just how bad this area is but it is known that at least one dumping incident occurred here that has been a source of concern.    PENCO may be called in to perform additional solidification or encapsulation measures on the dredged sediment.    This is considered the worst potential pollution source within the canal.    It is intended that this area will be dredged to 10 ft.

Area Four       This area is defined as the Manoa Stream area. This will be dredged at the end adjacent to the canal and debris will be removed.


The goal of the project is to bring the canal back to its original design capability.   Hopefully this project will:

o            improve water quality

o            increase depth

o            remove debris

o            decrease current

o            increase storm water capacity.

It is estimated that 170,000 cubic yards of dredged material will be removed.


A work staging area has been established in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor turning basin, immediately adjacent to the parking lot of Magic Island Park.    Two pilings have been sunk into the harbor to which the American Service Barge will be secured during the project.    This barge will act as a pier for three dump scows that will be shuttled between the work areas of the canal and an EPA approved dumpsite located approximately three miles offshore.

A small push boat (the “Pahu”) will maneuver one of three new dump scows into position at the canal work site.   Here the small American Work Boats (AWB 82) 82 ft. work barge will use its articulated crane to dredge the canal.   Once the dump scow is filled it will be returned to the staging barge in the turning basin.   Here it will be reballisted for sea and towed to the EPA approved dumpsite approximate 3-1/2 miles offshore.   This round robin schedule, utilizing three dump scows, will continue for approximately one year.     The daily schedule is from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm.      The time frame is important as the contract with the State of Hawaii has a Liquidated Damages provision in the contract which is essentially a penalty clause for going beyond the deadline of the project.

The EPA approved dumpsite is approximately 1300 ft. x 1500 ft.    It has been used before for other projects.    This is used for clean non-toxic dredged materials only.     The towboat American Emerald, which will be towing the dump scows to the dumpsite, is fitted with an position indicator radio transmitter, which is monitored by the EPA..


Safety is a paramount issue.    American Marine recognizes that they are going to be working in the middle of every type of recreational activity.   Yachts and paddlers are probably the most likely to be impacted.    Friday night yacht races that start in the turning basin could be the greatest potential for risk.    American Marine is putting out signs at the slips and the yacht clubs.     The work vessels will be monitoring Marine VHF channel 16 and working on Marine VHF channel 68.      

The most important thing to realize is that these work vessels have “limited navigational ability”.       Each dump scow will weigh in excess of 600 tons. The ability of these commercial vessels to avoid a problem is extremely limited.  Rusty reminded the attendees of the applicable Rules of the Road.

Rule 9b           ie.  any vessel less than 65 ft. shall not impede the passage of a vessel with limited navigational ability . . .

Rule 9d           ie.  vessels shall not cross a narrow channel or fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of vessels that are restricted to those narrow channels.

                        Clearly the American Emerald and the dump scow in tow will be restricted to the middle of the channel going out of the Ala Wai.


American Workboats has a history of working small dredging projects in populated recreational boating areas.     Previous projects included dredging at Hawaii Kai and Ko’olina Harbors.    We want this project to move smoothly and safely and will be willing to work with HOST and the community to try to work through any problems or issues that may develop.

A question was asked regarding the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor areas.    Several of the channels are silted in to the point where large sailboat can’t move in the channels. Mark answered that these areas were currently not included in the contract.   Perhaps if this information could be made known to appropriate people within the DLNR boating division something can be done in the future.

AGENDA Item #2  –   NPREP Exercise Report  –  Lt. Marie Byrd, USCG

Robin introduced Lt. Marie Byrd with the USCG Marine Safety Office, Planning Department.     She reported on the recent National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program  (NPREP) drill conducted in Honolulu.

Lt. Byrd reported on the level of preparation conducted to plan the exercise.   The planning along included a course in ICS (the Incident Command System) Management and 3 multi-day planning meetings.      This effort culminated in a two-day exercise held in the second week of July, 2002.      This was one of the largest NPREP exercises to be held in the nation this year.   It is the first national exercise ever to combine SAR (Search and Rescue), Oil and HAZMAT NPREP, and CruiseEx components.   It was conducted in multiple areas with the Command Post located at the Hawaii Oil Spill Response Center.    The “controllers” were located at the gymnasium of the US Coast Guard Base Honolulu.     The rescue triage and processing area was located along the waterfront of the USCG Base.    

Several hundred people from over 25 different groups and agencies participated.    Approximately 150 boy scouts acted as injured passengers.    Over 50 USFW Service employees and associated wildlife trustees participated in simulated oiled wildlife search and collection activities.   The Clean Islands Council set up it wildlife stabilization unit.   Other agencies included the Department of Health, NOAA, Civil Defense, PENCO, MSRC, the Fire Department and more.


The exercise scenario was based on a collision between a cruise ship and a CSX container ship.     On the first day over 50,000 gallons of fuel oil leaks from the container ship.    In addition an unknown amount of other hazardous materials has spilled from the containers on the ship.    The cruise ship is on fire and passengers are in the water.   The collision occurs approximately five miles off of Makapuu Point.       On day two, an additional large oil release occurs.


Marie reported that after the exercise a multi-day session to capture the lessons learned was conducted.    Of the 18 identified lessons learned recorded during these sessions she felt that 3 would perhaps be of most interest to HOST.  She reported on these captured lessons learned.

Lesson 1        The exercise pointed out that there is a need to solicit community support for expanded logistics if, in a real event, we would need to use more than one location for processing victims.

Lesson 2        In the exercise the Survivor Processing Area was at the gymnasium of the USCG Base, Sand Island.  We need to identify more areas in the event of a larger incident. She reported that the participants felt that the USCG base area was used to capacity and we only had one hundred and fifty “victims”.

Lesson 3        The Marine Fire Fighting Training that the local Fire Department received in April to June was great.   In preparation for the exercise the City and County Fire Department was allowed to train with both the US Navy and the NCL  (Norwegian Cruise Lines) crew from the Norwegian Star.   This effort we help to raise fire-fighting preparedness in Hawaii.    As a by-product of this effort a MOA was signed between the Navy and the Fire Department for quarterly refresher training at the Pearl Harbor Ship Board Fire Fighting Training Facility.


In summary, Lt. Byrd characterized the exercise as ambitious.    It was one of the largest NPREP to be conducted within the United States this year.    The lessons learned by working the issues across multiple agencies and organizations are invaluable and will ultimately lead to better preparedness for Hawaii.

AGENDA Item  #3  – Homeland Security  – CMDR. John Sifling

Robin introduced CMDR John Sifling with the USCG Marine Safety Office to discuss the latest information regarding the Homeland Security issues effecting our harbors.

CMDR. Sifling prefaced his remarks by saying that he didn’t really have a great deal of new information.      Immediately after 9-11 the USCG established nine (9)  temporary Security Zones throughout the State of Hawaii.    These temporary designations must be renewed periodically.    The purpose of these security zones is to enhance protection capability to persons and facilities that are at risk of a terrorist attack.    Currently that USCG is going to renew these zones again, but in the long term are looking at ways to make these security zones permanent.  While this sounds easy it presents some real issues for the communities effected by the zones.   He sited Hilo Harbor as one area that is problematic for a more permanent approach.    The security zone established in Hilo is primarily for the protection of the visiting cruise ships.     The area currently identified includes the entire Hilo Harbor area.   Vessels wishing to travel within the harbor are required to notify and receive permission from the USCG.   This currently is not happening.  Maybe it doesn’t need to.    Cruise ships don’t visit Hilo every day.

Current plans to make these security zones more permanent are looking at issues like these.    They are looking at reducing the size of the Hilo security zone.   Other problems and solutions need to be looked at for each specific security zone.   CMDR Sifling reported that his purpose in bringing this to the attention of HOST was to ask for any suggestions or thoughts the membership may have regarding these zones.     As the USCG looks to move beyond the reactive mode to a smarter long-term plan, any input from HOST would be welcome.    They are hoping that a new more permanent approach to port security can be developed by the time for the next renewal of the zones.

CMDR Sifling invited any suggestions, concerns, comments be sent to him via e-mail.    <jsifling@d14.uscg.mil>

A question was asked whether Hawaii had been considered for a Sea Marshall program.    This is a program that function much like the Sky Marshall program.  John answered that although there is such a program currently due to a limitation in manpower Hawaii has no such program.   Further it may not be as necessary as other locations due to the fact that Hawaii bridges and other infrastructure that can be threatened.   Areas such as the Mississippi River and the Golden Gate Bridge would probably have a higher priority in such a program.

Randy asked whether Honolulu Harbor had been nationally ranked for its strategic importance.     John answered that it had been ranked and that although it is of strategic importance to Hawaii it does not fall into the highest levels of strategic value to the nation.

A question regarding whether the news reported by the media that the USCG was going to get more resources of personnel, boats etc. is true.   CMDR reported that they are receiving word that some improvements in capability are starting down the pipeline.    The USCG nationwide is starting up a five (5) year plan to increase personnel from 36,000 to 40,000.  It also looks as though the budget will be increased by an additional $700,000,000. dollars.    Although this is a drop in the bucket for the Navy it is big money for the USCG. 

The real problem is that you just can’t get people and plug them in.   People need to be trained and the ranks need to be expanded across all levels.    This can only be accomplished with time.

AGENDA Item  #4  –   National Harbor Safety Committee Report  –  Brad Rimell

Robin introduced Brad Rimell from Sause Brothers to give the members a report on the National Harbor Safety Committee Conference held in Galveston earlier this year.    This is the group of Safety Committee sponsored by the Federal D.O.T. of which HOST is one.

Brad has a CD on the proceedings if anyone is interested in more information or you want a copy.

Due to time limitations this will be a brief report with perhaps more specific information rescheduled for a later meeting.

Brad reported that a good deal of information was presented on the 9-11 New York emergency situation.   Apparently the entire harbor community turned out to help the people stranded on Manhattan Island after the attack.   Some stories of heroic efforts left people in tears.   Issues discussed at the conference included ICS issues, Security issues.    After the attack there were no landline phones, no cell phones, and little transportation.   The Harbor community really came through and saved the day.   The Harbor Safety Committee was instrumental in this.

Other success stories for the Harbor Safety Committees included reports on Safety Committee, maritime community input in the reconstruction of Shea Stadium.    Apparently the field lights of the stadium had been a historic problem for navigation.    Input from the Safety Committee on the design of the new stadium meant a marked improvement in navigational safety.

Another success story includes input that brought wider areas in the Houston Shipping Channel.  This has also been a historical problem that is usually dealt with by the “Texas Chicken” in which vessels deliberately aim toward each other, creating a bow wave that hopefully will pressurized between the approaching vessels and ultimately keep them apart.    Hopefully more space will be an improvement.


Brad also reported briefly on the work of a subcommittee of HOST that is looking into emergency access to the State’s Harbors in the event of heightened security.

The concerns for this is crew access to Harbor workboats that may be needed to help bigger vessels keep out of harms way in the event of storms or other threats.   It is a very real problem that company personnel needed to help in an emergency will be kept out of the ports by well meaning but too broadly based restrictions on civilian personnel.

Currently Brad is trying to get a meeting together of the parties that may be instrumental to developing a protocol to address this potential problem.   As of now he would like to keep the meeting small by including only agency personnel.  The purpose of the meeting would be to acquaint these agencies with our concerns and have them go back to their people and fined out just what has been done or could be done.     A follow up meeting would then be held.

Currently the groups he is looking at include the USCG Marine Safety Office, Oahu Civil Defense, State Harbors, and the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources.

Related issues may be possible regulations related to ID’s for personnel.    This is certainly becoming a major issue in other ports around the country.   LA/LB is wrestling with the issue.    It seems that the longshoremen are not happy with the idea of required identification.   However, it may be an answer to this problem.  HOST could be a big player in working this issue.

Another issue is just trying to get a handle on who is in charge of what type of emergency.   There are at least three different emergency hierarchies that we know about.    Who controls them and how this fits into our access problem is still not fully understood.   They include DEFCon levels, RAINBOW levels, which have to do with whether, and FORCECon levels which have to do with terrorist threats.  More to follow.

Brad asked CMDR Sifling to explain the jurisdiction of the USCG on this issue.  CMDR Sifling pointed out that this is a gray area for the USCG.   Their authority includes anything on the water.   Shoreline facilities is currently a gray area in the law.  More USCG authority for waterfront facilities is possibly coming.


Robin Bond, Chairman, thanked Brad for his report.     At this time he announced that Officers for HOST had been elected for the year 2003.    They are:

            President                   Robin Bond

            Vice President            Brad Rimell

            Secretary                   Kim Beasley

            Treasurer                   Chris Woolaway

Robin also asked if anyone wanted to attend the Board Meetings please feel free to participate.   Also, if anyone had any suggestions for topics of interest or concern to please let him know. 


Robin announced that Ms. Julia Morgan of Bryan Ho’s  Legal Office will be joining the Board as an additional Representative from the Commercial Fishing Industry.   

Robin also pointed out that if anyone knows who could participate on behalf of canoe and surfing groups please let him know as this area of the community is in need of HOST representation.

                        HOST CHRISTMAS PARTY  –   DECEMBER 19th ,  HAWAII YACHT CLUB.


                        Chris Woolaway announced that the annual “Get the Drift and Bag It” clean up campaign will be held on September 21st.    This is part of an international program of coastal clean up.    Anyone wishing to participate please contact her at University of Hawaii, Sea Grant Office at telephone number 956-2872.