There is now confirmation that the Governor did respond the Scottish Minister of Parliament Allison Thewliss. In the letter, which came from Mike McCartney, Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff, there is an acknowledgement of the Falls of Clyde’s long history in Hawaii, however, there is a belief that there are not enough resources to restore the ship in Hawaii. They indicate a willingness to open a discussion with the Old Gorbals Heritage Trust, headed by David O’Neill. The State wants details about the plan to return the ship to Scotland. Through MP Thewliss’s office, the Department of Transportation will set up a communication with O’Neill. The Scots are accepting the letter as positive. According to McCartney, “the state’s interest is to remove the vessel, not to sink it. However, time is of the essence and removal must occur soon.” Our hope is that they will also be reasonable with the timing as there are many moving pieces that must come together before the ship can be moved.
We were able to conduct our monthly maintenance check of the vessel and also our quarterly pump test. We took the opportunity to move ballast water and get the ship back in trim. All is well.
What is a bit disturbing is that the Harbors Division has been approached by a couple of parties interested in buying the ship. They have not entered into any dialog with the parties, but we are checking with legal sources to determine our rights as owner under the circumstances.
We have been told that the Governor has responded to the Scottish Minister of Parliament and that the response is positive with regard to support for returning Falls of Clyde to Scotland. We will ask for a copy of the letter for our records.
At the suggestion of our Scottish partner, David O’Neill, we took a picture aboard the ship waving the Scottish national flag, the Saltire. The photo was put on both Twitter and Instagram.
The month a February was a relatively quiet one of wait and see. We are waiting to hear from our Scotland contact about responses to letters from his Minister of Scottish Parliament and also a director from Visit Scotland to Governor Ige. Both these officials have asked Governor Ige to support the effort to return Falls of Clyde to Scotland. Progress is being made in putting together the resources needed for restoration. As soon as all the pieces come together, raising funds for the transport of the ship to Scotland and then the restoration will begin.
On the downside, when we went to conduct our monthly maintenance work, we found that someone had been aboard and broke the cover to the tween deck hatch and dug up some flooring in the captain’s salon. We reported this to the Harbors Division and were told only people from Bishop Museum went aboard to check on the bitt they need to remove and return to the San Francisco Maritime Museum. Harbors Division said they will investigate what happened.
We asked that before anyone is allowed aboard that we be advised and have the option of accompanying them. Harbors Division then reciprocated by requiring us to give them five business days advance notice when we want to come aboard and someone from Harbors will be in attendance. We did get an acknowledgment that Harbors Division leaders agree with Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff Mike McCartney’s suggestion that Friends of Falls of Clyde and Harbors Division need to improve communication and collaborate. Hopefully that collaboration leads to Hrbors supporting the joint effort of Friends of Falls of Clyde and Old Gorbals Heritage to return Falls of Clyde to Scotland.
This could be the best year in a long time for the future preservation of Falls of Clyde. While there is still a lull here in Hawaii, there is an active and growing plan coming together to return Falls of Clyde to her original home in Scotland. David O’Neill of the Old Gorbals Heritage organization is garnering support and putting together the resources needed for restoration of our historic ship. It is naturally a slow process, but the environment for preservation of historic vessels in Scotland and throughout Europe is much stronger than we have here in Hawaii. The people with skills for a restoration are also readily available there. Friends of Falls of Clyde is providing as much information as needed to help their plan come together. Our role here will be to raise funds to prepare the ship for her long journey to Scotland.
Meanwhile, we have had no feedback so far after our lengthy meeting in December with Mike McCartney, the Governor’s chief aide. It has been posted on Facebook and in an article in the Hawaii Free Press that a Minister of the Scottish Parliament has written to Governor Ige requesting his support for the repatriation of Falls of Clyde to Scotland. Hopefully he is wise enough to see that this is a win-win situation that can help to change the negative image of the State’s lack of commitment to historic preservation.
. We looked forward on 12 December 2016 to celebrate the 138th birth date of the launching of Falls of Clyde. However, Harbors Division declined to give access because it was not for maintenance work. A small group gathered pierside, where we were allowed access, and President McEwan gave his words of appreciation for the ship followed by his annual whisky blessing.
A meeting with Governor Ige was arranged by community activist and preservation champion, Michelle Matson. Just before the meeting date set for 28 December, we received notice that our appeal of the hearing Decision & Order from August, which was heard in November by DOT Director Fuchigami, did not overturn the original decision. Again, the technical argument of the State held sway over our argument that the basis for the Harbors Division’s impoundment was arbitrary and based upon a prejudiced position.
Our meeting on 28 December ended up not being with the Governor, as he had more pressing matters. However, were did meet with his Chief of Staff, Mike McCartney, for 1 ½ hours, which we felt was a positive sign. He made positive comments about both sides needing to improve communication and find ways to collaborate. Our focus was on the work being done in Scotland to put together a viable plan to bring Falls of Clyde home to where she was built as the best way to see that she is preserved and restored at this point in time. We have received reports of forward movement in Scotland and hopefully will have a firm commitment in early 2017. We made the point to Mr. McCartney that, even though DOT is sticking with their technical position, the Governor can decide that moving the ship to Scotland is a way to meet the needs of the Harbors Division, so giving Friends of Falls of Clyde back control so that we can work to prepare the ship for her trip home makes sense. McCartney said he will be meeting with Harbors Division and we will hear more after that. We do hope at some point we will be able to make our case directly to the Governor.
Now that a stressful 2016 has drawn to a close, Friends of Falls of Clyde wants to send a mahalo nui to all of our supporters who signed the petition and wrote to Harbors and the Governor. We wish you all a very Happy New Year/Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
. The November 22 hearing was held at the Dept. of Transportation before the DOT Director. We argued that the State’s preservation law applied to the impoundment action taken by the Harbors Division and that their action was in violation of the law and made the impoundment illegal. We also contested several comments of alleged fact upon which the hearing officer based his decision. The Director took the testimonies under advisement and said he would make his decision, but gave no specific timeframe.
During the testimony we were able to reinforce the Scotland initiative to bring Falls of Clyde home to Scotland. We are hoping that this will be a common sense resolution that can get Harbors to retract the impoundment and give us a permit while we raise funds to help the Scots and prepare the ship for her long voyage home. We are also hoping to get a meeting with the Governor to make our case with him. It is hard to believe that the State would not support this effort, which meets the Harbor Division’s goal.
Since the last log post, we have had some movement in a positive direction. First, the naval architect from JMS Naval Architects & Salvage Engineers, David Forrest, conducted an updated condition survey of Falls of Clyde, which showed virtually no deterioration from their 2013 survey. They again declared that the ship is not a safety hazard. We provided a copy of the survey report to Harbors Division, Department of Transportation, Department of Land & Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Division, and U.S. Coast Guard. Based on the positive result, we have also requested that Harbors retract the impoundment and reinstate the revocable permit. A copy of the letter to the Harbors Division is included.
There is also a growing and viable initiative going on in Scotland to return the ship home to Glasgow. Saving and preserving Falls of Clyde is the most important goal of Friends of Falls of Clyde. If the Harbors Division is determined to have her removed from Honolulu Harbor, Scotland will be the perfect home. Obviously many moving parts need to come together to make this a reality, but we believe bringing her life full circle is a story that will resonate with people worldwide and ensure success.
We also took the opportunity to challenge the Decision & Order by the hearing officer on the impoundment. We set forth some legal and procedural issues and are looking forward to the next hearing now set for November 22.
This is the most positive situation we’ve had in the past year and a half of dealing with the stress we’ve felt from the actions of the Harbors Division. Perhaps cooperation is a possibility now.
October 28, 2016
Darrell T. Young, Deputy Director
Davis Yogi, Harbors Administrator
Dept. of Transportation, Harbors Division
79 S. Nimitz Hwy.
Honolulu, HI 9613-4898
Subject: Falls of Clyde Status
Dear Mr. Young and Mr. Yogi:
The condition survey conducted on Falls of Clyde on October 11, 2016 by the JMS Naval Architect is attached for your files. As you can see from the report, there has been effectively no change since the 2013 survey, which we provided and was satisfactory to our insurance underwriters. As is clearly stated in the Executive Summary to the survey, the ship is not a safety hazard as we have continually communicated to the Harbors Division. If there are any questions regarding the state of the ship, you are free to contact Mr. Forrest directly.
I believe that you are aware that there is now an active initiative in Scotland to return Falls of Clyde to her original home port. Friends of Falls of Clyde supports this effort, which is consistent with our Option 1 in the plan we submitted to the Harbors Division on July 29, 2016. This shows that there is support internationally for the preservation of this historic maritime landmark. We believe that local cooperation in helping to make this work will be a positive step to bolster our reputation on historic preservation, which is currently tarnished because of the actions taken to date.
Friends of Falls of Clyde respectfully requests that impoundment be retracted and a new revocable permit be issued. We are willing to discuss a reasonable berthing fee as a non-profit organization. Our plan going forward will be to work with our Scottish supporters to move the ship in 2017.
Bruce McEwan, President
As the saying goes, the other shoe has fallen. We received the Decision and Order (D&O) from the Hearing Officer and he decided in favor of the Harbors Division. We were very disappointed, but not surprised because we thought the decision would be made based on a narrow interpretation of the issues. However, we disagree with some of the facts that were relied upon. The D&O stated: “Indeed, the State continually communicated and met with the Petitioner in an effort to resolve the State’s long-standing concerns regarding safety issues, the Vessel’s seaworthiness, and the need to repair portions of Pier 7.” What are the facts? First, every time the matter of safety was raised, there was never a specific reason for Harbors Division’s allegation. When the Revocable Permit was terminated, safety was not even mentioned. How could there be such important safety issues if they could never articulate what they are? The issue of seaworthiness was never raised. Under maritime law, a vessel is seaworthy if it is reasonably fit for its intended use. Falls of Clyde is a stationary museum ship, therefore, it is fit for its purpose. There was never any long-standing concern for seaworthiness that the Harbors Division ever raised with us, which would have been a moot point based on the definition of seaworthiness. Finally, the repair of Pier 7 was never raised until the letter terminating the Revocable Permit.
Unfortunately, however the Hearing Officer got those “facts” from Harbors Division, they were given to undermine Friends of Falls Clyde’s efforts to get the impoundment reversed and the Revocable Permit reinstated.
The only positive part of the D&O was the Hearing Officer not considering our arguments based on Federal and State historic preservation laws. He stated that they were not relevant to the impoundment. It is our position that when the Harbors Division takes their next step to move toward their goal of removing the ship from the harbor that those laws will be relevant.
We submitted our legal position to the Hearing Officer as directed, as did the Attorney General. As previously commented, the AG took a straight technical position based on the Revocable Permit, whereas we focused on the arbitrariness and bad faith of the decision made by the Harbors Division. From our perspective, it is clear that the actions taken by the Harbors Division have intentionally undermined the mission of the Friends of falls of Clyde. We now await the Hearing Officer’s decision due September 21.
On the positive side, President Bruce McEwan was recently in Scotland and made the trek to the Falls of Clyde. It was an awesome experience because Falls of Clyde is a power unto itself and is a source of the hydroelectric power in the area. Hearing the roar of the Falls of Clyde shows its power just as we experience the mana of the ship, Falls of Clyde, when we are aboard. Here is a picture of the Falls of Clyde.
This was the day that Harbors Division held the administrative hearing where we attempted to make a case for reversing the impoundment and having the revocable permit reinstated. A news release has been issued and will be posted on the website and Facebook to communicate to all of our followers. While this was a bit of a perfunctory process, we were able to make our case, albeit not a technical one that the Harbors attorneys made.
What Friends of Falls of Clyde now needs is to have as many people as possible add their names as supporters and to sign the petition and send notes to the Governor’s office. We need as much community show of support as possible. Since Falls of Clyde has an international reputation as an outstanding historic maritime artifact, we also need national and international followers to weigh in with their support.
We are at an urgent stage in our mission and will need supporters to provide us with ideas for people who may be able to influence the Harbors Division and/or be able to provide financial support or direct us to people who have financial resources and want to support our mission.
Harbors knows that we are not about to roll over and we are ready for a fight. Come join us to battle the bureaucracy!!
Bruce McEwan, President
We know that there is great interest in the future of the Falls of Clyde. There is a lot going on that the Board of Directors is dealing with, so we felt that keeping stakeholders involved through a report on our website is the easiest way to reach our worldwide audience.