POSTED: 3 APRIL 2007 - 9:00am HST

Nawiliwili Harbor & Port Allen on list

Past security in Nawiliwili Harbor by Raymond Massey. See his work at

Coastal security zone list may grow
by Jan TenBruggencate on 1 April 2007 in The Honolulu Advertiser

The Coast Guard has proposed establishing new coastal security zones at Kawaihae Harbor on the Big Island and off Kahe Point on O'ahu, which would allow the agency to restrict public access when there are specific vessels in the region or when enhanced security-threats exist.

The new security zones would be added to a list that includes Honolulu Harbor; Honolulu Harbor anchorages B, C and D; Kalihi Channel and Ke'ehi Lagoon; waters around Honolulu International Airport; Barbers Point offshore moorings; Barbers Point Harbor; Kahului Harbor, Lahaina; Hilo Harbor; Kailua-Kona Harbor; Nawiliwili Harbor; and Port Allen.

The Coast Guard, which is part of the federal Department of Homeland Security, has established the security zones, it says, "to protect personnel, vessels, and facilities from acts of sabotage or other subversive acts, accidents, or other causes of a similar nature and will extend from the surface of the water to the ocean floor."

The agency is seeking state Coastal Zone Management approval for its amendments to the existing regulations. The proposed changes do not significantly alter existing security language, except in three areas.A security zone today automatically travels with any big cruise ship when it is within three miles of a state harbor. Any vessel that wants to get within 100 yards of such a ship needs to first contact the Coast Guard for approval, although the local Coast Guard has the authority to allow some vessels to be closer than that. The Coast Guard proposes to change its language from "Large Cruise Ship" to "Large Capacity Passenger Vessel," so that the Hawaii Superferry also would automatically activate a security zone when it entered harbors.

Since the Superferry plans to use Kawaihae Harbor, that West Hawai'i facility would be added to the list of harbors and coastal locations with security zones that activate when a big ship arrives.

The waters off Kahe Point could be restricted whenever maritime security levels rise to 2 or 1, to protect the big Hawaiian Electric Co. power generation facility there.

"This beach front power plant uses sea water piped in directly from the ocean to cool its turbines. Loss or damage to this cooling water system due to sabotage would reduce the power generating capacity of this plant and put a strain on the other island facilities," the Coast Guard says in its proposed rule-making language.

Lt. j.g. Quincey Adams, of the Honolulu Coast Guard's Marine Safety office, said Honolulu Harbor and the offshore moorings at Barbers Point are considered Category One zones and have an always-active security coverage, requiring any vessel planning to pass nearby to obtain Coast Guard approval. The other state harbors and related areas are listed Category Two, meaning they are activated under specific circumstances, such as with the arrival of a big passenger ship.

With most of the harbor security zones, "under normal circumstances, nobody would know they were there," said John Nakagawa, a planner with the Coastal Zone Management program in the state Office of Planning.

Even within harbors, when a large ship's presence activates the security zone, the language of the regulations says the Coast Guard's captain of the port "may permit vessels that are at anchor, restricted in their ability to maneuver, or constrained by draft to remain within an LCPV security zone in order to ensure navigational safety." Vessels under way "may contact the Captain of the Port at Command Center telephone number (808) 842-2600 or on VHF channel 16 (156.8 Mhz) to seek permission to transit the area."