HONOLULU (KHNL) - What's next for the Hawaii Superferry? President and CEO Tom Fargo says it doesn't look like there's a short-term solution, but says he intends to keep the Alakai in Hawaii.
As the Superferry sails away from its its year-long inter-island service as a passenger vessel, Fargo says the company must now look for other work for the Alakai.
"There are other ferry operations that would like to expand their service and certainly the military may very well want to lease this particular ship," he said.
Since the beginning of their fight to block the Superferry from coming to Hawaii, opponents have said military use was always the intention.
As evidence, in 2007, they referenced a Pacific Business News article where Superferry Board Chair John Lehman said the ship will be used to transport stryker units.
"Lehman told PBN that this logistical plan will make it easier for soldiers to train when the stryker brigade comes to Hawaii," Kauai Superferry activist, Andrea Noelani said at the time.
"And that's absolutely not true. We certainly wouldn't have gone to the trouble to paint the Alakai in the manner that we did, to appoint her with 836 first class seats," said Fargo.
Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, Fargo believes the Alakai will return.
"Our intention is not to dissolve Hawaii Superferry as an entity," he said.
Whether or not that intention will stay afloat in the midst of legal turmoil, Fargo says the real tragedy is the loss of jobs.
"You've got 250 great people who are going to lose their jobs as a result, and there may be more secondary impacts and for no good reason," Fargo said.
Fargo says they may hire back Superferry employees, if they find a company to use the Alakai.