A Coast Guard Liaison Officer is stationed on an American protectorate in the South Pacific. His assignment is to coordinate and enforce federal marine safety, and administer a grant for a local boating safety program. Upon arriving, he learns of a passenger and vehicle ferry that provides daily service to a neighboring island but has serious safety violations. In addition, small boats ferrying passengers to nearby atolls are overcrowded and unsuited for ocean transit. He also suspects that the Port Director managing the Coast Guard's annual grant for the boat safety program is corrupt, since the program does not appear to exist. Although the officer is eager to correct the violations, his supervisor urges him to keep a low profile and let the locals handle their own affairs. He is scheduled to meet with the island's Governor to brief him on the ferry situation.
The is case illustrates cross-cultural negotiation and management to develop solution that is respectful of the culture, does not intervene unnecessarily in local affairs, yet addresses the egregious safety violations.