POSTED: 28 JANUAY 2006 - 9:00am HST

Austal launches 1100 mile range Superferry

Hawaii Superferry "Manta" out of Austal drydock at launching into the Mobile River

by Judie Lindborg on 28 January 2006
In the last day or so, someone questioned Rich Hoepner about the fuel capacity for the Superferry. Below are spec provided by Austal about the Superferry vessel .Interesting that 56,800 gallons of fuel equates to 28 hours of travel time multiplied by 40 mph equals 1120 miles. Enough to get to the equator? Thought you might want to add this to your archive!


19 Janaury 2007

Austal USA Press Release

Yesterday in Mobile, Alabama, Austal USA launched its Hull 615 - the first Hawaii Superferry.

At first light, the Pete B dry dock was floated up the Mobile River and secured to Austal's bulkhead on the west side of the yard's assembly bay No.4. With the dry dock aligned and secured to the bulkhead the process of pulling the ferry out onto the drydock began. The ferry was then secured to the dry dock, which was moved back down river to complete the launch and float the ferry. The ferry currently sits in the Mobile River alongside Austal's south assembly bay bulkhead awaiting preparation for sea trials.

"Austal is proud to have designed and constructed this state-of-the-art vessel," said Austal's COO, Dan Spiegel. "It is the first one of its kind in the United States and we have been looking forward to the launch of this ferry for over two years since we celebrated the start of construction. This event represents Austal's superior capabilities when it comes to high-speed aluminum vessel design and construction."

Hawaii Superferry's first vessel is the largest aluminum passenger-vehicle ferry built in the U.S. to date, with a length of 349 ft 4 in, a beam of 78 ft 1 in and a draft of 11 ft 8 in.

The ferry will operate between the Hawaiian Islands at speeds up to 35 knots.

The vessel is four decks high, including two decks for parking 282 cars or 28 forty-foot trucks and 65 cars, one deck for passengers and the bridge deck reserved for the pilot and crew.

Two thirds of the second, mezzanine deck hoistable in order to facilitate parking for lighter cars and leave maximum parking space for the larger trucks.
The upper deck, or passenger deck, includes comfortable seating and amenities that include a bar and lounge at each end, food counter, gift shop, video game room, children's play area, restrooms, crew mess, purser's office, and first aid room.

Construction began on the Hawaii Superferry in June 2004 with a visit from a Kahu (Hawaiian priest) to formally bless the vessel, the construction hall and everyone that was involved in the project.

Full contract funding for this two-vessel project was confirmed in October 2005 making the contract unconditional and enabling work to be completed at an accelerated pace. Construction is advanced on the second ferry which is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2009 following the launch of Austal's first Littoral Combat Ship.

Length overall: 106.5 meters / 349'-4"
Length waterline: 92.4 meters / 303'-1"
Beam molded: 23.8 meters / 78'-1"
Hull depth molded: 9.4 meters / 30'-10"
Hull draft (maximum): 3.65 meters / 11'-8"
Deadweight (maximum): 800 tonnes / 882 tons
Passengers 866
Crew as per USCG requirements
Vehicles: 282 cars
or 28 forty-foot trucks (342 lane meters) with 65 cars
Fuel (approx): 215,000 liters/ 56,800 gallons

Main engines: 4 x MTU 20V 8000 M70
4 @ 8,200 kW / 10,996 hp
Propulsion: 4 x KaMeWa 125 S11
Service speed: 35.0 knots, 90% MCR, 400 tons

Classification: Germanischer Lloyd




POSTED: 21 JANUAY 2006 - 11:30am HST

It's a ferry tale beginning ... for advocates

Hawaii Superferry "Manta" leaves Austal drydock during launching into the Mobile River

by Mike Leidemann on 20 January 2007 in The Honolulu Advertiser

A $90 million catamaran designed to provide Hawai'i's first interisland ferry service in more than 25 years hit the water for the first time yesterday, the latest step in what officials say is an on-schedule plan to begin operations here in July.

The 350-foot, still unnamed vessel was eased from a Mobile, Ala., shipyard construction area into a floating dock, then released into free-flowing waters, company officials said in Honolulu.

"It was a monumentous moment," said Hawaii Superferry chief executive officer John Garibaldi, coining a new word in his excitement.

The vessel still faces months of sea trials in Alabama, a long trans-Pacific journey, more trials in Hawaiian waters and stiff environmental, legal and legislative opposition.

But for a time yesterday, company officials swept all that aside to revel in a day they said had been years in the making.

"We're still prepared to start our operations as planned July 1st," Garibaldi said. "We are extremely excited to present an important travel alternative."

Opponents, concerned about the ferry's impact on the environment and overcrowded Neighbor Island harbors, said yesterday they'll work to delay the start-up date of ferry operations, citing a pending lawsuit and a move at the state
Legislature to require the company to do a lengthy environmental impact study before proceeding.

State Sen. J. Kalani English, D-6th (E. Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i), the chairman of the Senate Transportation and International Affairs Committee, and other Neighbor Island legislators have said they'll try to delay ferry operations until the study is done.

"A lot of people want to know what the impact will be on the environment and traffic. A full study would go a long way to making them more comfortable about those things," English said.

Yesterday's launching at the Austal shipyards in Alabama drew crowds of workers and onlookers eager to get their first full view of the ship that will carry up to 866 passengers and 282 vehicles, company officials said.

With structural work on the ferry complete, crews will now turn to finishing the interior and starting sea trials. The company plans to take possession of the ship in March.

If all goes as planned, the ferry will arrive in Hawai'i waters sometime in early May and be ready for its first passenger run two months later.

Initially, the company plans to offer daily roundtrip service between Honolulu and Maui and Kaua'i, with one-way passenger fares ranging from $42 to $50. When a second ship joins the fleet in 2009, the company will expand service to the Big Island.

The company has met and overcome all the major obstacles since investors first began thinking about a new interisland ferry service in 2001, Garibaldi said. The obstacles included obtaining more than $200 million in private financing and government loan guarantees, and $40 million in state-funded ferry improvements to Hawai'i harbors, and dealing with widespread concern about the ferry's potential environmental impact, including the possibilities of interisland transport of invasive species and of collisions with migratory humpback whales.

"We continue to work with the community to address all the environmental concerns," he said.

Critics, however, believe the company has not gone far enough.

City councils on Maui, Kaua'i and the Big Island have passed non-binding resolutions calling for a more complete environmental study, and a state judge on Maui ruled last month that a lawsuit by Maui County and two groups seeking to block the ferry can proceed. The suit contends that the state's current master plan for Kahului Harbor is inadequate given the entry of the ferry. Noting that the planned start of the ferry is just months away, Judge Joel August urged the parties in the lawsuit to negotiate a settlement.

Interim state transportation director Barry Fukunaga said yesterday that talks aimed at a settlement are under way. "We've been in contact with the plaintiffs and are trying to come to a meeting of the minds," he said.

State officials expect to have all barges and ramps necessary for ferry operations in place by the ship's arrival in May, Fukunaga said. The state is also reviewing the latest Superferry operations plan, which includes a blueprint to control traffic and other potential problems.

"They've submitted the plan and it's being assessed. We're going back and forth on details with them now, but as of now there aren't any major obstacles," he said.

Superferry officials yesterday also unveiled a new manta-ray-looking logo for the ferry and announced a partnership with the Big Island Manta Pacific Research Foundation, whose mission is to study rays in their natural habitat, conduct scientific research and provide public education about mantas, including a display that will be on board the ferry.



POSTED: 15 JANUAY 2006 - 5:00pm HST

Like it or not, Hawaii Superferry to launch

Mobile, Alabama, Austal ship building yard on the Mobile River

Superferry to launch first vessel
article on 15 January 2007 in Pacific Business News

An Alabama shipyard this week intends to launch the first of two massive catamaran ferryboats commissioned by Hawaii Superferry Inc.

Superferry, planning to launch its first interisland service in July, hopes to show the first images of the ferry at a Thursday media event at the Hawaii Maritime Center amphitheater at Pier 7, Aloha Tower Marketplace.

The company said it also will introduce its new logo and announce a philanthropic partnership with a Hawaii nonprofit organization.

Hawaii Superferry has the necessary approvals to launch service, but opponents of the venture have some additional legal and political options. They are pressing state lawmakers to require a detailed environmental impact statement that the courts have said is not necessary.

Hawaii Superferry to launch Thursday

By Kaija Wilkinson on 14 January 2007 in The Mobile Register

This week will mark a milestone for Austal USA in Mobile when it launches the first of two Hawaii Superferry craft from its south ship shed on the Mobile River.
The length of more than two football fields, the vessel is so large that Austal must remove the front of the shed to clear the way, a process that started last week, the company said.

The launch itself is expected to last most of the day Thursday, and can be observed from Cooper Riverside Park in downtown Mobile.

Austal, one of the few aluminum ferry specialists in the world, in December 2003 won a contract to build two ferries for Hawaii Superferry Inc. The first vessel is lacking only finishing touches to its luxury passenger level before it undergoes a series of sea trials and is delivered to its owner in early spring, Austal said last week.

The value of the contract is about $190 million for both boats, said Terry O'Halloran, director of business development for the privately held Hawaii Superferry Inc.

Work is under way in Mobile on the second vessel, scheduled for delivery in early 2009.

Despite the financial problems some other fast ferry operators have encountered, and fierce opposition from environmentalists in Hawaii, investors are confident that the Hawaii Superferry vessels will be welcomed and enjoy profitability.

"People are quite excited about it here," said O'Halloran. "We are bringing back the opportunity to travel over the ocean between islands."

The first ferry will connect the islands of Kauai, Oahu and Maui. The second ship will link Oahu and Hawaii.

A one-way passenger ticket costs as little as $42. Car fares begin at $55, with commercial trucks paying as much as $1,050 for a one-way trip.

O'Halloran said he expects the venture to turn a profit in about a year.

All has not been rosy for fast ferries in North American waters, however.

A fast ferry venture in Rochester, N.Y., ended early last year when that city's mayor halted service of its Spirit of Ontario to stop what he called a "hemorrhaging of tax dollars" brought on by the ferry, which it had bought from a private owner that went bankrupt.

That ferry -- built by Austal USA's parent company, Austal Ltd. of Perth, Australia -- was subsequently bought by a British company that said it would operate an England-France route.

Ferries in Alaska, meanwhile, have struggled with low volumes.
Fast ferries -- that carry 200-plus vehicles, between 750 and 1,000 passengers and travel at 30 knots or higher -- depend on high volume so they can pay the higher fuel, power and maintenance costs associated with such large vessels.
The 353-foot aluminum Hawaii Superferry scheduled to launch Thursday is capable of carrying 866 passengers, 282 cars and 28 large trucks. Its maximum load is 882 tons and its top speed is 37 knots."

O'Halloran said Hawaii Superferry chose Austal because it "has the technology and the ability to build the right kind of ship for us. It was a natural fit."

Among those who believe in the Hawaii Superferry are Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who helped secure about $25 million in federal loan guarantees for the vessels, and former U.S. Navy secretary John Lehman, who O'Halloran calls "our major investor."

Hawaii Superferry isn't Lehman's only tie to Mobile: his New York-based company, J.F. Lehman & Co., last summer purchased the Atlantic Marine Inc. shipyards in Mobile and Jacksonville, Fla., becoming in the process the second-largest property owner along the Mobile waterfront.
O'Halloran said Hawaii's governor Linda Lingle has also been supportive, and that the state Department of Transportation is building ramps to accommodate the vessels.

The vessel will offer people and businesses an entirely new way to travel among islands, said O'Halloran. Now, he said, people travel by air and businesses move their goods on barges."

The Superferry's double-hull catamaran design hearkens to Hawaii's history, since it is based on the canoes used by the Polynesians who originally inhabited the islands, O'Halloran said.

This double-hull design, which has a draft of only 12 feet, provides for a "very smooth, comfortable ride," he said.

In the industry, it's known as SWATH, an acronym for small water-plane area twin hull. Ride stabilizers are also used, he said.

O'Halloran said he rode an Austal-built ferry in the Canary Islands similar to the Hawaii Superferry and was impressed by the comfort of the ride.

It's not perfect, however. Passengers can still feel slight movement when seas are choppy, but will be able to easily move from place to place on the ship, he said.
But while investors maintain their ferries will be welcomed with open arms, some worry that the large vessels will kill whales, be used to transport drugs or spread invasive plants and animals.

John Tyler Cragg, Web author of, said "the Hawaii Superferry has been bullying its way to service to our islands with the political help of our Republican governor and U.S. senators, over the objections of each of the three neighbor island councils in Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island."

Cragg wrote in an e-mail that the introduction of the ferries to the Hawaiian islands is "a Pandora's box."

A logo on the Web site shows a ferry with jagged teeth eating its way through the islands.

Lee Tepley, a researcher who holds a doctorate in physics from the University of California at Los Angeles, said a protest movement is gaining strength and that a bill will be introduced to require Hawaii Superferry to submit an environmental impact statement, or EIS, before beginning operation.

O'Halloran said an EIS is not required of cargo shippers or cruise lines that now operate in Hawaii, and maintains the company has addressed concerns after holding "hundreds of meetings" with island community groups over the past several years.

O'Halloran said that Hawaii Superferry has developed a whale avoidance policy that includes detection radar and routes that avoid places where the mammals congregate. The company also touts the ferry's organism-repellent hull paint. O'Halloran also said the company is working with law enforcement to counter concerns about smuggling.

"We have developed policies and procedures that in many cases go beyond what a law or rule would require," he said. "In many cases we're setting new standards for transportation companies here in Hawaii."

Please see the completely redesigned HSF web-site at

To see how Oahu-centric the whole thing is, please look at the fare page and see if you can find the cost of a ticket to Oahu.

see also
Island Breath: Superferry Reference
Island Breath: Superferry in Trouble
Island Breath: Superferry Resistance
Island Breath: Superferry & Military
Island Breath: Superferry History
Island Breath: Superferry Meetings
Island Breath: Superferry Redux
Island Breath: Superferry Problems
Island Breath: Stop the Superferry