Cruise ship enters harbor on Molokai amidst protestors and police


In 30 years of community activism, Molokai’s Walter Ritte, Jr. said he never saw anything like Saturday at dawn at Kaunakakai Harbor: about 80 cruise ship protesters matched up against at least twice as many county, state, and federal officers.

“There were at least 40 guys on just the Coast Guard boats,” Ritte said, “It was a million-dollar Homeland Security operation. That was a real boost to the economy,” Ritte said.

The US Coast Guard told residents that they intended to enforce a temporary “security zone” around Kaunakakai Harbor while the small Safari Explorer resumed controversial visits to the Friendly Isle, also known as Molokai.

The zone was set up Friday, and it included the channel entrance and waters around it. State officials said it was to be enforced one hour before the ship enters and exits the harbor.

Naturally, Walter Ritte suddenly said he had no intention of organizing another harbor blockade. Some people might actually believe him. Others are probably wondering why he has not been arrested for obstructing public harbors and public roads.

Ritte had said the security zone was unnecessary and “overkill,” but he said members of his group had told officials they would not interfere with the ship’s arrival.

Ritte said he wants to “figure out what the hell happened here.”