Protection Group Challenges Superferry's Whale Avoidance Policy

Greg Kaufman
Greg Kaufman

WAIKIKI (KHNL) -  One of the big issues has been what impact, if any, the Superferry could have on ocean life?

The ship's officals said they have a "whale avoidance policy," which is above and beyond what the state requires.

But the Superferry does not have forward looking sonar.  Without it, a whale protection group says, it's virtually impossible to avoid hitting a whale.  That's because, at full speed, the Superferry will have about eight seconds to respond.

"This means the spotter will have to look, determine that there's exactly a whale there, yell to the captain or lean over to the captain, tell him where the whale is," said Greg Kaufman of Pacific Whale Foundation. "The captain will have to make a determination on course change. By that time, the collision will occur. It's impossible."

The Pacific Whale Foundation says humpback whales are typically not visible to ships before a collision.

They call the Superferry's "whale avoidance policy" misleading and deceptive.