POSTED: 30 OCTOBER 2008 - 7:45am HST

Is Superferry Corporation Dissolving?

image above: LCS2 Independence and HSF2 Koa are docked in Mobile AL from

by Dick Mayer on 30 October 2008

We've learned that Hawaii Superferry continues to make significant changes.

- No longer working for HSF is Duane Kim, the manager of Maui Superferry operations.

- And now we hear that longtime HSF spokesperson Terry O'Halloran is out.

- Future Tuesday voyages are indefinitely cancelled.

- The 2nd superferry will NOT be coming to Hawaii for at least another year.

- The Special Session ACT 2 will soon be taken up by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

- The season of big waves and seasickness are now back in the islands.

- No reservations are being taken after March 15, 2009.
  (Check it out: )

Is the company dissolving?

Second Superferry ship postponed
by Michael Levine on 29 October 2008 in The Garden Island

Hawai‘i Superferry yesterday announced it is postponing the introduction of its second ship and the start of service to the Big Island for approximately one year due to what President and CEO Tom Fargo described as “the larger global and local economic climate.”

The company is still anticipating delivery of the second 836-passenger, 200-plus-vehicle catamaran in Mobile, Ala., from shipbuilder Austal USA in late February and will look at short-term opportunities for use of the ship prior to its induction into service in the islands, a news release states.

“ We believe that our business plan is solid for the long run,” Fargo said in the statement released yesterday. “Serving the islands, including the Big Island and Kaua‘i, remains our goal and is very important to us.”

The Big Island’s distance of 132 nautical miles from O‘ahu — Fargo estimates that the ride from Honolulu to Kawaihae will take 4.5 hours each way and possibly as long as 12 hours round-trip, including turning the boat around — means that the second ship would have been totally devoted to that run.

The company will continue service between O‘ahu and Maui with its first ship, the 350-foot “Alakai,” beginning its truncated “winter schedule” — seven weekly round-trips between the islands — on Nov. 1. Fargo said he expected to ramp up to as many as 13 weekly round-trips after Easter, approaching the Alakai’s maximum capacity of two round-trips per day.

If and when Hawai‘i Superferry returns to Kaua‘i, the company will have to determine how many of those 14 Alakai runs will go to the Valley Isle and how many will go to the Garden Isle. Those proportions would be based, at least in part, on what the ridership is, Fargo said.

The economic conditions that led the company to postpone the introduction of its second ship would have little or no impact on a decision to return to Kaua‘i, he added.
“ We don’t have the start-up costs in Kaua‘i (that we do on the Big Island),” Fargo said in a phone interview. “Everything we need to operate to Kaua‘i is already there, and the ship is already here, so there’s no impact.”

When asked to put a timeframe on a potential return to Kaua‘i, Fargo declined to name a specific date but pointed at the timeline “that is naturally in place.

“ The draft (Environmental Impact Statement) will be done in January, is the latest date I saw,” he said. “Then it goes out for comment. By spring, we’ll have a solid year’s worth of successful operations to Maui. Good decisions will be made at that point in time.”

The Superferry has not been to Kaua‘i in more than a year. Protestors delayed its inaugural landing with paying passengers on Aug. 26, 2007. The next day, more than 60 surfers, swimmers, kayakers and outrigger canoe paddlers clogged Nawiliwili Harbor and prevented the boat from docking altogether despite a heavy local, state and federal law enforcement presence both in and out of the water.
On shore, more than 1,000 residents lined the narrow jetty road, many waving “Bury the Ferry” signs and shouting, “Go home.”



POSTED: 30 OCTOBER 2008 - 7:45am HST

Second Superferry stalls in Mobile, AL

image above: Hawaii 2nd Superferry Koa in Mobile AL drydock with 2nd Austal LCS in background

by Robbie Dingeman on 28 October 2008 in The Honolulu Advertiser

Hawaii Superferry this afternoon announced that it is postponing the introduction of its second ship and the start of service to the Big Island for about one year because of the uncertain economic climate.

The company said it will delay putting a second ship into service for a year when the company anticipates the financial and economic climate will be more conducive to starting the new route. Superferry had earlier anticipated the second ship arriving in the Islands in March.

President and CEO Adm. Thomas Fargo said Hawaii Superferry is anticipating delivery of the second ship in Mobile, Ala., from shipbuilder Austal USA in late February 2009. The company will look at short-term opportunities for use of the ship prior to its induction into service in the Islands.

The Superferry got off to an unsteady launch last year when legal challenges and bad weather plagued the initial months of operation. A damaged boat and pier caused further interruptions but has in recent months grown more popular.

The interisland ferry service will continue its current schedule of service between the islands of O'ahu and Maui with its first ship, the Alakai.

Fargo said the company remains committed to serving the people and businesses of Hawai'i.

"Postponing the introduction of our second ship will defer over $10 million in start-up costs and enable us to maintain our sound financial position," Fargo said. "Given today's economic uncertainties, this decision is both prudent and provides us with additional time to develop this market, while continuing to grow our successful O'ahu and Maui service."

Fargo said the company still intends to go forward with the long-term plan to expand service to the Big Island and Kaua'i. The company had planned to start with Kaua'i earlier but faced opposition from residents there.

"In the meantime, we will continue our focus of providing a reliable and responsible service between Maui and O'ahu and preparations for the arrival of our second ship to ensure its successful launch," he said.

Hawaii Superferry's first ship, the Alakai, seats up to 800 passengers and carries approximately 200 vehicles.



POSTED: 30 SEPTEMBER 2008 - 7:30am HST

Austal turns out second Hawaii Superferry

image above: Second Superferry in a drydock in Mobile AL. Photo by Mike Kittrell

by Kaija Wilkinson on 30 September 2008 Alabama Press-Register

The second Hawaii Superferry eased out of Austal's ship shed on the Mobile River into a floating dry dock Monday. Praising the Mobile workforce, Austal President Joe Rella called the launch "ahead of schedule and on budget."

The yet-to-be-named vessel should be floated off the dry dock at Atlantic Marine this morning, then will head back to Austal for final work before sea trials begin later this year.

The ferry is part of a two-vessel, $190 million deal Austal landed in April 2004. While early plans tentatively called for up to five ferries, the inter-island service has been slow to start because of legal and weather complications, and Hawaii Superferry Inc. now plans to operate just two ships.The first boat, named Alakai for "ocean path," is sailing with far less than half its capacity of 866 passengers and 282 cars. That vessel operates daily between the islands of Kauai, Oahu and Maui. The sister vessel will offer service between Oahu and the Big Island starting in May 2009, according to the company.

Alakai has been averaging about 300 passengers and 100 vehicles per voyage in the past several weeks, which Hawaii Superferry called a "significant" improvement over its starting numbers.

Outfitted with lounges, restaurants, and shops, the four-deck fast ferries are reminiscent of cruise ships or luxury yachts. The first vessel was featured as an engineering marvel on a National Geographic Channel documentary, but it has been a target of fierce environmental opposition. Critics contend that such ferries, capable of reaching speeds close to 50 mph, are a threat, particularly to Hawaii's native humpback whales.

The service was initially halted by Hawaii's Supreme Court in August 2007, when it ruled that state transportation officials shouldn't have exempted the company from an environmental review required of projects that use state money. Hawaii provided $40 million worth of harbor upgrades to accommodate the ship, while the U.S. Maritime Administration granted $140 million loan guarantees.

A state judge in November 2007 cleared the way for the ferry to restart operations without a review. It did briefly, before sustaining rudder damage that sent it into dry dock for six weeks.

In April, a preliminary audit found that the state bowed to pressure from Hawaii Superferry when it allowed the company to start operations without the review. The audit is ongoing.

Austal, meanwhile, reports it is ahead of schedule on its contracted March 2009 delivery date, and on budget for "the largest aluminum catamaran vessel delivered in the U.S."

At 113 meters (373 feet) long, the vessel launched Monday is 6 meters (19.8 feet) longer than Alakai, thanks to a ramp Austal added to its stern, making it suitable for military use. Industry watchers have said leasing the vessel to the military is a possibility, though the company said it is sticking by its plan to operate it commercially.

The second Superferry is one of two major projects that has sustained the 1,000-person workforce at Austal over the past several years. The other, a U.S. Navy combat ship, is scheduled to be christened Saturday.

Austal is awaiting word on more military work, including a major contract to build fast ferries for the U.S. Army and Navy.

see also:
Island Breath: HSF RRA hilites problems
Island Breath: State & HSF task force failure
Island Breath: HSF after the fact EIS
Island Breath: HSF dry docked
Island Breath: HSF Rudder Mess
Island Breath: January HSF News
Island Breath: HSF night trips
Island Breath: HSF military trips
Island Breath: HSF EIS Smoking Gun
Island Breath: HSF two trips