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Congress approves purchase of former Hawaii Superferries

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 4:28 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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