Round One of Superferry Testimonies - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Round One of Superferry Testimonies

By Mari-Ela David

MAUI (KHNL) - A Maui judge heard arguments Monday on if the maiden voyage should be allowed to sail between Oahu and Maui again.

The center of friction in the courtroom revolved around one witness, who claims the Superferry could hurt Hawaii's marine life.

The legal bickering between the State and Hawaii Superferry versus environmentalists took center stage at the Second Circuit Court in Maui.

On day one of testimony, both sides came armed with witnesses.

The first called to the stand - Hannah Bernard, a marine biologist, who says the Superferry could endanger whales if it sails more than 10 knots per hour.

"Below 10 knots, there tend to be almost no collisions, so going less than 10 knots of any size vessel is a magic number," she says.

That assessment sparked arguments.

"As far as I know, virtually every ship in Hawaiian waters is going to go more than ten knots. I guess we're going to have to get some testimony as to why Superferry is different than any of the other dozens if not hundreds of ships that go back and forth between the islands," says Deputy Attorney General William J. Wynhoff.

"That's simply not the truth. Most vessels literally all of them travel less than 10 right now. They don't go faster than that. Hawaii Superferry is the only one that's come in and said we want to go 40 or 25," says Isaac Hall, an attorney for environmentalists.

The Superferry's impact on marine life is just one of several issues the court must resolve.

With at least 14 witnesses listed to testify, it could take several days before a ruling comes down on the fate of the Superferry on Maui.

Also addressed at Monday's hearing, Judge Joseph Cardoza agreed to extend the temporary restraining order, which was going to expire Monday at 2:00 p.m.

However, the extension is only for 24 hours, so on Tuesday, the court will address the TRO once again.

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