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State to Update Molokai Community on Operations at Kaunakakai Harbor

Governor’s News Release

Following progress made on Molokai about the future of Kaunakakai Harbor, the state of Hawaii and the U.S. Coast Guard will hold a community meeting to present the security plan for the resumption of port calls by American Safari Cruises. It will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, at Mitchell Pau’ole Community Center in Kaunakakaki.

American Safari Cruises will resume its port call into Kaunakakai Harbor on Saturday, January 21, 2012. The companycancelled its port calls last month in response to community concerns. Since then, Moloka’i 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 actively participating in those discussions on behalf of the state.

“I am pleased that we have settled the situation with American Safari Cruises, which could not have been achieved without the coming together of all the concerned parties,” said Chair Aila. “This meeting is the next step in keeping an open dialogue with the community.”

“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 Chair Aila. “This meeting will allow us the opportunity to provide information regarding the resumption of port calls by American Safari Cruises to Moloka’i.”

Chair Âila will be joined by officials from the state Department of Transportation, the Maui County Police and the U.S. Coast Guard who oversee and ensure environmental, public and navigational safety in the harbor.

“I am thankful that Chairman Aila, the community and American Safari Cruises have been able to reach a peaceful resolution to this matter,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

The U.S. Coast Guard will also be seeking public comment on a temporary security zone that has been established for the waters of Kaunakakai Harbor. Specific details on the security zone, including instructions on submitting comments, can be reviewed at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-13/pdf/2012-549.pdf.The security zone will be enforced one hour prior to Kaunakakai Harbor entries and departures by the passenger vessel SAFARI EXPLORER. 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.

Captain Joanna Nunan, Commander Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, said, “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.”


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