Bill calls for return of Superferry

SOURCE: Dick Mayer
SUBHEAD: The measure says an inter-island ferry service is a “missing link” in Hawaii’s transportation system.

By Brian Perry on 28 January 2016 for Maui News -

Image above: The second Hawaii Superferry was originally christened The Haukai but was renamed the USNS Guam after the Navy took it over for a song. It has not performed well. From (

[IB Publisher note: This disingenuous article does have one point in its favor. The Hawaiian islands should have a means of surface travel from one point in the archipelago to another. That would mean by boat since we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Today, traveling from from one county to another (or in the case of Maui , and Kauai County, from one town to another) may require a jet trip and passing through a TSA screening). We strongly believe on passenger service by boat between islands. Moreover, we have no problem with shipping inspected freight along with passengers on those ferry. Where we have a particular problem is with drive-on, drive-off passenger cars and trucks. And also with high speed (over 20mph). These recommended limits have to due mostly with either damage to ocean mammals (seals, whales, dolphins run over at high speed) or damaging effects to the outer islands from overcrowded Oahu.  Just remember Oahu has 3/4 of the population of all seven inhabited islands and that all the opihi and imu rocks have been stripped from Oahu. In the first week or two of the Superferry service from Oahu from Maui a pickup truck was found returning to Maui loaded with imu rocks that had been illegally taken and were worth much on Oahu. Remember that the high speed Superferry was in reality a US Navy weapon supplier hoping to sponsor a prototype with funding from the State of Hawaii. The two boats built by Austal performed terribly in the open ocean. Passengers were nauseous at high speed during the short trip between Oahu and Maui. Reports recently indicate that the ships have been battered by open ocean in Navy use of the vessels. We don't want to be suckers again. Lastly, this article never mentions the visceral rejection of the Superferry by large numbers of people on the outer islands. Children and grandparents got in the water, facing US Coast Guard grappling hooks, to deny access of the Superferry to Nawiliwili Harbor and people of Maui arose through the courts to thwart the ferry there.]

[Inter-Island  FERRY ??Link to Senate Bill 3022 (]

Maui News Article:
Re-establishing an inter-island ferry capable of carrying hundreds of passengers as well as vehicles and cargo should be a priority for Hawaii, giving residents an alternative to expensive air transportation, according to a bill introduced Wednesday by Big Island Sen. Lorraine Inouye.

Under Senate Bill 3022, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources would be required to conduct an environmental assessment for a ferry system.  The measure would provide a company operating an inter-island ferry vessel with a tax credit and a 50 percent reduction in harbor fees for its first year of operation.

DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation was reviewing the ferry bill and had not taken a position, spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.

The bill defines an inter-island ferry as a vessel designed to carry at least 400 passengers per voyage, along with motor vehicles and cargo.

The measure comes nearly seven years after the Hawaii Superferry stopped operating in 2009 following a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that a state law allowing the ferry to operate without a complete environmental impact statement was unconstitutional.

The first of two ferries, the Alakai, provided sporadic service between Kahului and Honolulu harbors for about 18 months from late August 2007 to March 2009.  During winter months, rough seas in channel crossing plagued the Alakai’s passengers, with some reporting seasickness.  Plans called for a second ferry to service the Big Island, but that never happened.

The bill’s findings note that Hawaii is an island state with major populations on six islands an with transportation mostly limited to costly air travel or small ocean charters.

“There are security concerns associated with residents and visitors being overly reliant on one inter--island carrier and a few smaller commuter operations, as airports face severe operational disruption in the event of a significant natural or man-made disaster,” the bill says.

Referring to the now defunct Hawaii Superferry, the measure says the Legislature’s previous attempt at implementing a statewide ferry operation “failed due to a lack of mandatory environmental impact statements.”

“However, the limited run of the Hawaii Superferry did prove to be a successful mode of transportation, for both persons and limited property, between the islands of Maui and Oahu” the bill says.  “The operation connected family members, provided individuals physically unable to fly with a less burdensome alternative to air travel and supported inter-island business opportunities.”

The measure says an inter-island ferry service is a “missing link” in Hawaii’s transportation system.

News of the ferry bill’s introduction brought a swift reaction from Albert Perez, executive director of the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, which was at the forefront of legal challenges of the Superferry.

“The serious problems posed by invasive species could devastate our economy,” he said.  “We are already getting one introduction of little fire ants and one of coqui frogs once a week…We need to be shutting down avenues of invasive species transport, not creating new ones.”

And, Perez said, an inte-risland ferry system has been proved to be a “money loser”.  Other ferry systems have gone bankrupt, he said.

“Seas in Hawaii are often rough, and a ferry would only be able to run on certain days,” Perez said, adding that ferry tickets would be more expensive than people think.

A cost-benefit study would show an inter-island ferry system in Hawaii would be a poor investment, he said.  Ferries in Washington state are heavily subsidized and face constant pressure to cut their budgets, he added.

Wednesday was the deadline for lawmakers to introduce bills.  Inouye’s bill passed first reading, but it had not been referred to committee or set for a hearing.

Maui Sens. J Kalani English (East Maui-Upcountry-Molokai-Lania) and Gil Keith-Agaran (Wailuku-Waihee-Kahului) are among the bill’s sponsors.

In 2009, a Delaware bankruptcy court allowed Hawaii Superferry to abandon the two ferries.  The U.S. Navy later bought the ferries.

In July 2013, state-owned equipment let behind by the Superferry was auctioned off.  The state sold barges, loading ramps and miscellaneous equipment to the highest bidders.  The state spent $40 million on harbor improvements to accommodate the Superferry.

During its brief stint in Hawaii, the Superferry was a magnet for protesters concerned about its environmental impacts, its potential harm to whales and introductions of alien species.  Opponents blocked the ferry from docking at Kauai.

In 2014, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and then gubernatorial candidate said he would make it a priority to bring back the Superferry, despite likely controversy.  Hannemann said residents of Oahu and the Neighbor Islands had told him they wanted more transportation options than air travel.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Another Superferry Story 6/26/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry stationed in Japan 3/12/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry U-Turn 1/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry return from the dead 1/2/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii Superferry back? 1/26/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry vessels go to Navy 12/23/11
Ea O Ka Aina: A Slower Ferry is Better 4/2/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Re-Enacting the Superferry 2/23/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Mufi Superferry Plans Sinking 8/22/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Mufi's Superferry Musings 8/18/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry return to Hawaii? 2/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry & MARAD expose 4/18/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry Rising from the Dead? 2/8/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Governor Lingle Misspeaks 1/18/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry Headed to Haiti1/19/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry Progress Report 3/12/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry Redux 10/27/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry 9 Sinks 9/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry still dead 5/15/09
Ea O Ka Aina: HI Leg wants Superferry back 4/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Plan to save the Superferry 4/5/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Nawiliwili No-Superferry Party 3/20/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Supreme Court rules on Superferry 3/16/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry hits whale? 1/21/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Has HSF struck things? 1/19/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry auditor report 12/18/08
Ea O Ka Aina: Fate of the Superferry 12/18/08
Ea O Ka Aina: The Superferry Showdown 12/17/08
Island Breath: Superferry book to tell the truth 11/23/08
Island Breath: Second Hawaii Superferry launched and stalled10/29/08
Island Breath: Superferry Radid Risk Assessment shows 9/13/08
Island Breath: Superferry submits reports of HSF operations 9/9/08
Island Breath: Superferry doubles trips to Maui 5/11/08
Island Breath: Superferry return to Kauai 5/3/08
Island Breath: Military tries Superferry 1/8/08
Island Breath: Superferry adds second trip to Maui 5/1/08
Island Breath:Superferry "Rudder" problem 2/5/08
Island Breath: Military tries Superferry 1/8/08
Island Breath: Superferry Night Schedule and Whales 1/8/08
Island Breath: Superferry adds second trip to Maui 1/5/08
Island Breath: News of September 17th 9/17/07
Island Breath: News of September 14th & 15th 9/15/07
Island Breath: News of September 13th 9/13/07
Island Breath: News of September 12th 9/12/07
Island Breath: News of September 11th
Island Breath: News of September 10th 9/10/07
Island Breath: Superferry Concerns 9/10/07
Island Breath: KOH Petition to USCG 9/5/07
Island Breath: HSF Slice & Swath Technology 9/5/07
Island Breath: News of Oahu animosity 9/5/07
Island Breath: Maritime Administration & EIS 9/3/07
Island Breath: Support from Oahu's DMZ 8/30/2007
Island Breath: DMZ - Stop the Strykers 7/2/07
Island Breath: Maui Case & Timeline 8/29/07
Island Breath: A Hawaiian's View 8/29/07
Island Breath: We Win Round Three 8/28/07
Island Breath: Plea to Reps and TRO 8/27/07
Island Breath: Rounds One & Two 8/23/07
Island Breath: Boycott the Superferry 8/17/07
Island Breath: Superferry Preparations 8/10/07
Island Breath: Hui-R Superferry Meeting 7/26/2007
Island Breath: Not So Super Ferry 7/24/07
Island Breath: Superferry Invasion 7/22/07
Island Breath: Superferry Noise 7/18/07
Island Breath: Superferry Delayed 5/25/07
Island Breath: Still No Superferry EIS 3/31/07
Island Breath: Superferry EIS Effort 3/25/2007
Island Breath: Superferry EIS Bill hearings 2/26/07
Island Breath: Superferry Promotion 2/24/07
Island Breath: Superferry Launched 1/28/07
Island Breath: Superferry Resistance 11/1/06
Island Breath: Superferry & Military 10/13/06
Island Breath: Superferry History 10/3/06
Island Breath: The SuperFerry hidden agenda 10/3/06
Island Breath: Stop the Superferry 8/29/06
Island Breath: Superferry Meetings 8/13/06
Island Breath: Hawaiian SuperFerry is back! 6/23/06
Island Breath: Superferry in Trouble 12/12/006
Island Breath: Superferry Reference 11/6/06
Island Breath: Stop the Superferry 8/29/06
Island Breath: Superferry Meetings 8/13/06
Island Breath: Superferry Problems 11/14/04


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