Superferry employees fear the future

Felicidad Bartolome
Felicidad Bartolome
Sherry Uehara
Sherry Uehara
Liah Ann Mahuna
Liah Ann Mahuna
Tawana Alonzo
Tawana Alonzo

By Zahid Arab bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)- Hawaii Superferry's shutdown is big loss for the Alakai's crew, some of whom have been with the company since its first sail in 2007.

For some, losing its service is inconvenience, but for its nearly 250-workers, it's crippling.

At a time when unemployment rates are sky-rocketing, the fear is they may no longer be able to put food on their tables.

They have humor when it hurts the most. Heavy hearts, full of emotions.

"Tears, just sadness," said Superferry worker Liah Ann Mahuna.


"Where are we going to go from here, they dropped bombs on us so what's going to happen," said Superferry worker Felicidad Bartolome.

Agony of the Alakai ohana torn apart.

"We've been through court cases, layoffs, canceled voyages, everything," said Mahuna.

Fear of the unknown.

"You don't know what's going to happen the next day, all we can do is go on unemployment and see where it goes from there," said Superferry worker Tawana Alonzo.

Chopper 8 flies over the Superferry's somber final sail into Oahu . It's like night and day compared to the celebration of its inaugural trip to Maui in 2007. Workers did what they could to lighten the mood, but in the back of their minds they knew this was the end.

"Singing songs, playing music, it was pretty hard," said Superferry worker Sherry Uehara.

The crew sees only tougher challenges ahead.

" We don't know what's going to happen with the economy we have right now, you're lucky if you make it day by day," said Alonzo.

Some have to fall back on the support of their families to survive the sinking economy, but others are hopeful that this won't be the Alakai's final aloha.

"We'll be back in force, trust me," said Bartolome.

Hawaii Superferry officials say the company is doing what it can for its laid off employees.

It's working on a collaboration with the State Department of Labor's Rapid Response team to offer them aid.