Navy renames Superferrys

SUBHEAD: The Alakai has become the USNS Guam and the Huakai is now the USNS Puerto Rico.  

By Staff on 8 May 2012 fo Pacific Business News -  

Image above: The Superferry was always a military project. Where did all that effort to build Hawaii some ferries end of being applied? Here the Austal JHSV-1 (named the USNS Jeju) built for the US Navy and has just finishing sea trails in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2012. “I have never witnessed a more problem-free builder’s sea trial than USNS Spearhead’s,” remarked Joe Rella, president and chief operating officer of Austal USA. I wonder why? From (
[IB Editor's note: Interesting that the US Navy would name the two Hawaiian vessels after two other strategic islands taken in the expansion of Americam Imperialism.]
The two high-speed ferries built for the shuttered Hawaii Superferry were renamed Tuesday by the vessels’ new owner — the U.S. Navy.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Tuesday that the Alakai, which sailed between Oahu and Maui from August 2007 until it was shut down in March 2009, and its sister ship, the Huakai, were renamed the USNS Guam and the USNS Puerto Rico.

“High-speed ferries will be used for peacetime operations such as troop transport training, exercise missions and humanitarian and disaster relief,” Mabus said in a statement.

The Pentagon noted in the statement that prior to the Navy’s recent acquisition of the vessels, the two high-speed ferries were used in humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti.

The Navy acquired the two twin-hulled ferries from the U.S. Maritime Administration, which put them up for sale after purchasing them for $25 million each at a September 2010 foreclosure auction.
The federal agency had bid on the vessels using a $150 million guarantee that the federal government made to Hawaii Superferry LLC to build the 836-passenger ferries. The Maritime Administration was owed more than $135 million by the bankrupt Hawaii Superferry.

The Alakai operated service between Honolulu and Kahului for a year-and-a-half, while the Huakai was ready to be placed into service when the Hawaii Superferry shut down in March 2009 after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that a state law that had allowed it to operate without conducting an environmental impact statement was unconstitutional.


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