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Congress approves purchase of former Hawaii Superferries

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:28 a.m. HST, Dec 23, 2011


NORFOLK, Va. >> The Navy has received congressional approval to buy two high-speed superferries from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The recently approved defense authorization bill allows the Navy to spend up to $35 million to buy the Huakai and the Alakai. The measure is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature.

The Maritime Administration took custody of the superferries in 2009 after a bankruptcy judge ruled that the previous owner, Hawaii Superferry, could abandon them to lenders. The Maritime Administration moved the ships from Hawaii to Norfolk and bought them at an auction in 2010.

Maritime Administration spokeswoman Cheron Wicker tells The Virginian-Pilot that a date for transferring the superferries to the Navy hasn't been set.

The superferries can each carry 282 cars and 836 passengers, and can cruise at 35 knots.

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Christopher_murp wrote:
This is good. At least someone will get some use/benefit from these vessels. Too bad it isn't Hawaii.
on December 23,2011 | 04:28AM
Kapakahi wrote:

The fact that the vessels may be suitable for military service does not mean a private business could make money ferrying people, cars and goods with them between the islands. I find it ironic that people who pretend to understand the real world of business are unable to set aside their cheerleading views and see the reality. The SuperFerry did not have a viable business plan for interisland transport.

The idea was sold to the politicians and public, but never made economic sense. A public relations campaign told us it would allow neighbor island farmers to ship their produce to market in Honolulu, a "win-win" solution for both farmers and consumers. That market never developed. Farmers did not find the schedule and costs to be workable. Passengers LOVED the SF! On calm days! But there were enough days where the seas were too large for comfortable travel, passengers were throwing up everywhere and refused to sail back on the SF, taking airplanes instead.

We all liked the IDEA of shipping our cars inter-asland, but when the seas were rough, we had to fly back and leave our cars stranded. Renting a car made more sense. We never learned what the true inter-island fare would be because the SF was always discounting the fares to try to drum up customers, which led to losses for them and exaggerated consumer expectations about low fares. The SF was collapsing financially, separate from their legal problems, which resulted when they spent more money on politicians and PR firms than on the required EIS. Of course, they were misled by the Lingle crowd. Had the SF crowd not been highlevel GOP VIPs, they would not have attempted to start this business. They relied upon taxpayer subsidies and "friends in high places." Not a good example of the Free Market. Nor of business acumen.

on December 23,2011 | 10:29AM
lee1957 wrote:
The Superferry was never required to conduct an EIS, the State of Hawaii was. Sorry for putting a chink in the vast right wing conspiracy.
on December 23,2011 | 11:56AM
mokebla wrote:
Kapakahi , you're a legend in your own mind. Thats why your name is kapakahi, you don't make any sence. Only the rich people fly and rent a car, or ship by youngbrothers and their barge get a more rough ride then the SP, get real lolo.
on December 23,2011 | 07:06PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Just remember that the cost of the Superferries is 0.07% of the Choo Choo to Ala Moana.
on December 23,2011 | 10:51AM
onevoice82 wrote:
A proud day for all of Hawaii, we now just bought the ships that we threw away. Way to go taxpayers!
on December 23,2011 | 04:32AM
hawaiinui wrote:
Like anything else...everyone cheers that the Feds have bought this and the Fed is giving that. People...the FEDS are us! WE just bought something we already had. Talk about "regifting", but dang this one came with a huge $35 M price tag. Ho Ho Ho...Right on onevoice82 for recognizing the stupidity of it all.
on December 23,2011 | 05:34AM
harley1 wrote:
who wants to bet that we'll see at least one of them back in Hawaii, plying the waters between islands?
on December 23,2011 | 04:51AM
atilter wrote:
i dunno - only unless a major paradigm change in attitude takes place ....! anyone offering odds .... i wonder if vegas would have a line?? hmmmm.......???
on December 23,2011 | 05:38AM
awahana wrote:
At this rate, Hawaii will forever be a backwards state.
on December 23,2011 | 05:19AM
Classic_59Chevy wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 23,2011 | 10:47AM
motoxdad wrote:
Maybe you should go and experience a third-world country as i did, if you do, i'll bet you'll change your comment in a heartbeat.
on December 23,2011 | 12:30PM
Wazdat wrote:
Hawaii is RUN like a third wrold country.
on December 23,2011 | 01:11PM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
Your right fourth world at it's best.
on December 23,2011 | 03:11PM
atilter wrote:
hawaii's loss is the navy's gain! but fema needs to NOT RECOMMEND they be used in case of dire natural emergencies for some of our islands. they will not be welcome! just saying from past recent history....!?
on December 23,2011 | 05:20AM
waikiicapt wrote:
They were both already used in the disaster in Haiti. They were effective in getting badly needed emergency supplies rapidly to the islands from the US. As has always been stated, they are (were) well suited for just this scenario. Why anyone would NOT want that capability here in Hawaii ...like you...is beyond comprehension. Secondly, it isn't the Navy's decision to do such a thing. Finally, if you understood (as most local residents don't) the amount of time it would take to bring food, bottled water, and fuel to any of the islands here after a disaster, from the mainland, you'd be the first person screaming as loud as you could "WHERE ARE THOSE DARN SUPERFERRIES!!??" Neighbor island residents especially are the most vulnerable to losing food and fuel far faster than they have been lead to believe. Try a matter of "hours" as opposed to days as the local civil defense so frequently says.
on December 23,2011 | 08:31AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
kauai resident i bet
on December 23,2011 | 03:29PM
Kuokoa wrote:
Bring 'em back to Pearl Harbor! I think that Hawaii could afford the $35 mil price tag but again, Ambercrumbles was speaking out of the side of his mouth when he said during his campaign that he would bring them back. HAWAII NEEDS THOSE SHIPS! When are our leaders going to see that?
on December 23,2011 | 06:27AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Please direct all questions to Young Brothers.
on December 23,2011 | 07:19AM
Wazdat wrote:
This makes me SICK. Hawaii blew it big time by shutting this ferry system down. I mean WTF we are an island chain and this should be a requirement for any island chian to ahve a ferry system. Tahiti has one and it works great. This will be one that Hawaii will look back on and wonder what did we do. Matson and YB and hawaiian and the rental cars will keep TAKING ADVANTAGE of NO COMPETETION.
on December 23,2011 | 06:59AM
cojef wrote:
You got it right, POWER PLAY by Matson, YB and others who would benefit from the demise of the Super Ferry. The unions could have helped, but what's in it for them? Nothing so they did nothing. In the end the poor people shot themselve in the leg. Who got the buzz words out to the environmental activist to set-up the blockades? Interesting to find out.
on December 23,2011 | 08:30AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
the monopoly owners got their way as usual
on December 23,2011 | 03:30PM
mustangguru wrote:
Just let that thing die. We had a chance and let a small minority have their way with the rest of us. Have our friends at Blue Planet Foundation given us any alternatives, since they seem to be above everyone else in terms of intelligence.
on December 23,2011 | 07:41AM
aomohoa wrote:
HEY, those were our Superferries!
on December 23,2011 | 07:51AM
entrkn wrote:
Hawaii just passed on getting back these two much needed Superferries for $35million... this is hard to swallow.
on December 23,2011 | 07:59AM
islandsun wrote:
Hope to see those boats running our military men and supplies to Kauai and Maui on a regular basis.
on December 23,2011 | 08:09AM
JFSD wrote:
So Hawaii ate about half of the back rent and other fees when Hawaii Superferry settled in bankruptcy court last year, plus the $40M the state spent on harbor improvements for the venture, and I kept reading that while beautiful, the size of the boats were over-sized and more appropriate for military applications. Fast forward to the present and viola!, the Navy is buying them...
on December 23,2011 | 08:17AM
Kuniarr wrote:
The capacity to carry 235 cars and 836 passengers and run at a max speed of a little over 40 MPH was a boon for travel between the islands of the State of Hawaii.
on December 23,2011 | 08:40AM
Kuniarr wrote:
For the Super Ferry that is.
on December 23,2011 | 08:41AM
motoxdad wrote:
I geuss their gonna run over whales with it somewhere else.
on December 23,2011 | 12:32PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
kauai protesters are responsible for this outcome.
on December 23,2011 | 03:32PM
sollie wrote:
Maui too!
on December 24,2011 | 05:26AM
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