Superferry idea resurfaces amongst maritime community

Superferry idea resurfaces amongst maritime community

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Superferry logos are still on the doors of the terminal and even the bankrupt company's safety letter is still on the wall from 2008. For some it was a multimillion dollar investment gone belly up. For others its an idea to resurrect.

"We think it's a fantastic time. It's amazing that in the United States, the only state where the counties are separated by water has no way to go across the water by inter-island travel," said Christian Yuhas, Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (AFL-CIO).

Many businesses loved the service but it was sunk in large part because of a lack of an environmental impact statement.

"We know because the whales, invasive species and the environment there were concerns about how it was done. This time around we're hoping that if everybody follows the rules, looks very carefully at the environmental concerns that there is no reason why another interisland ferry system couldn't happen," said Yuhas.

There was vocal opposition including protestors on surfboards blocking the ship from coming into Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai.

"All those things that were raised as issues at the time of the original controversy will come back again. I can't imagine why anyone would want to go through all that again but if they do they're going to have to answer to those challenges," said Lanny Sinkin, former Superferry opponent who sued the US Coast Guard claiming it was protecting and illegal operation in the Superferry.

Then there is the monetary investment. The two ships cost $180 million not to mention all the operating expenses. Some feels it's too much for government to subsidize it all and risky for private investors alone.

"This would be pretty expensive because we're not talking about short haul trips we're talking long trips so the subsidy in particular would be pretty significant," said Panos Prevedouros, UH Manoa Engineering Professor.

Still it's an idea that seems to be floating back to the surface.

We spoke with some of the former executives of the Superferry who economically speaking still believe a ferry would be profitable and there is enough demand to make it work. However when I asked about the risks with protestors they declined to comment.

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