Cruise Ship visits are increasing dramatically at a time when the Federal Government is mandating expensive and time-consuming security procedures that we (the Maui taxpayers) have to pay for.
Maui's biggest problem is the lack of room in Lahaina and Kahului to process the passengers - and lack of any place to expand to in order to provide the facilities needed. A second problem is the pollution generated by these floating cities. We recommend these rules that will address this problem:
- Require Cruise Ships use Type III waste disposal systems (incinerate or store for pumping)
- Limit cruise ship docking at Kahului to those times that the berth is not needed for our freight and fuel.
- Limit cruise ships to 1 per day at Lahaina.
Except for Norweigen's Pride of Aloha and Pride of America, all the cruise ships that visit Maui are foreign flagged and don't pay US income or payroll taxes.
- Norweigen Cruise Lines (www.ncl.com) operates
- Holland America Line all foreign flagged
- Princess Cruises
- Island Princess
- Sapphire Princess
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Royal Carribean/Celebrity Cruises
After 9/11 the Federal Government mandated security procedures for harbors. Cruise ships, ferries and fuel barges are considered particular targets. Our Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is charged with providing security at Lahaina and the Dept of Transportation is charged with Kahului Harbor. Lapses in security (as small as incorrect answers to questions posed by undercover federal investigators) cost us (the Hawaii taxpayers) $25,000 per lapse.
Does the Federal government pay for this extra security? NO! Our departments are having to do their current jobs AND provide security with the same staffing and funding. Employees are putting in 16 hour days to accomodate these thousands of cruise ship passengers.
Income from the cruise ships goes primarily to the State while impact is born by Maui's people. The majority of Maui residents are paying for the infrastructure, taxes and social impact to enrich a few tourist-oriented retailers - with the net profit to Maui either very small, zero, or on the negative side.
In 2002 a Cruise Ship Passenger spent only $43 - $99/day (much of which went right back to NCL) whereas the typical airplane passenger spent $143/day (Tourism Report).
Now that NCL is buying up the tourist attractions such as Polynesian Adventure Tours, the figures on daily cruise passenger spending is misleading - most of that money goes right back into NCL's pocket rather than staying here on Maui.
With limited infrastructure (and waning resident tolerance for the swarms of tourists clogging our roads) economic analysis shows that we should be discouraging rather than encouraging cruise ship tourists and encouraging the more profitable air tourists.
Cruise companies come in promising big dollars in revenue but then begin switching to using their own tour companies so that fewer and fewer dollars end up in the local economy. NCL has begun that process with the purchase of Polynesian Adventure Tours. Now, cruise ship passenger transportation and tour dollars will go to NCL's corporate HQ rather than benefitting Hawaii.
The cruise ships tie up for 35 hours – almost 3 times as long as any of the freight barges or ships. The cruise ships are 758 and 968 feet long while the barges range from 100-350 ft. That length of dock could accommodate from 2 to 9 barges at a time.
Since the cruise ships are there for three times as long, that means that just one of them displaces from 6-27 barges during the time they stay.
The 790 foot Lurline, our big mainland freighter, ties up only 10 hours. We could more than triple our mainland freight shipping by using the space the Pride of Aloha takes up for 35 hours.
To make matters worse, The Pride of Aloha docks on Friday - our busiest freight day with 5 freight ships and barges there as opposed to the 3 or fewer on other days.
Cruise ships have absolutely no monitoring nor any fines if they dump sewage into our oceans. So these floating hotels dump all their sewage in the waters around our islands. Not only that, the cruise ship line using Kahului Harbor (Norweigen Cruise Lines) has at least one felony conviction for illegal dumping and falsification of records.
As was mentioned in a recent Maui News editorial, Hotels have to go through years of permitting, mitigate their effects, contribute to parks and road improvements but if you build a hotel and float it on our waters (incidentally dumping all its trash and sewage in our ocean), you get the Maui taxpayers to pay for your dock, your terminal, your security screening and you don't have to contribute a thing to Maui's roads, beaches and parks which are overrun with thousands of cruise ship passengers every day. What a deal - but not a good deal for Maui.
Even if we pass strict no dumping laws as 14 other states have done, our State can only control waters 3 miles out. We have strong inter-island currents that can mainline the sewage and garbage dumped by the cruise ships 4 miles out right back to our beaches in 45 minutes.
Pollution legislation is better than nothing but it needs to be accompanied by a policy that refuses dockage to any cruise ship that dumps anywhere within the island chain. We may not be able to legislate this but we can certainly refuse to allow any cruise ship to dock at our State facilities who doesn't abide by this policy. And we can charge enough for their wharfage to put a decent monitoring program into practice.