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Security Measures Planned for Ship’s Visit

The U.S. Coast Guard, under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will be establishing a temporary security zone at Kaunakakai Harbor as the 36-passenger vessel, the Safari Explorer, resumes docking at the wharf on Jan. 21. The security zone will be enforced one hour prior to the vessel’s arrival and departure to the harbor, for the protection of “people, vessels and facilities in and around Kaunakakai Harbor during potential non-compliant protests involving the… Safari Explorer,” according to Docket No. USCG–2011–1159, published in the Jan. 13 issue of the Federal Register, the daily publication for rules, regulations and notices of the federal government.

The rule, effective Jan. 19, 2012 through May 15, 2012, “provides the Coast Guard and its law enforcement partners the authority to prevent persons and vessels from intentionally blocking the channel and ensures the safe passage of the [Safari Explorer.]” Citing protesters who blocked the entrance to the wharf on Nov. 26 on small boats and surfboards, the security zone regulation seeks to ensure the safety of all involved during future port calls.

The security zone will encompass the harbor and adjacent waters and land, including Young Brothers facilities and the public boat ramp. Notice of the zone’s activation will be provided by broadcast notices to mariners and the display of a red flag at the Kaunakakai Harbor Master’s building.

American Safari Cruises cancelled its Molokai dockings last month in response to community concerns. Since then, Molokai residents and officials have held meetings to discuss the future of tour operations in Kaunakakai. Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila has been participating in those discussions on behalf of the state, according to a press release from Gov. Abercrombie’s office last week.

“The people of Molokai have shown leadership in seeking a resolution to concerns that were raised about tour operations and we want to thank them for working with the state in an open dialogue,” said Aila, in a press release from Gov. Abercrombie’s office last week.

On Tuesday, a public meeting was held at the Mitchell Pauole Center to inform the community and discuss the new measures.

“Public safety in Molokai remains our top priority and we are committed to maintaining an open dialogue with community stakeholders on how we can best serve our shared interests,” said Captain Joanna Nunan, Commander Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, in the governor’s release.
The Coast Guard and DHS are inviting public comment on the issue. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG–2011–1159 using any one of the following methods:

(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: Regulations.gov, (2) Fax: (202) 493–2251, (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001.

More information on the security zone, including instructions on submitting comments, can be reviewed at gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-13/pdf/2012-549.pdf.


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