Hawaii Superferry to get sister ship

Dietrich Giles
Dietrich Giles
The Alakai sailing into Honolulu Harbor
The Alakai sailing into Honolulu Harbor

By Howard Dashefsky - bio | email

MOBILE, AL (KHNL) - The future of sea travel in Hawaii is being built in Mobile, Alabama, by a company based out of Western Australia.

A global leader in construction both commercial and defense vessels, the company named "Austal" is just months away from delivering Hawaii's second Superferry according to company representative Dietrich Giles.

"Most of the structure is complete at this point and a lot of the interior is coming together, what we call joiner work or walls have gone up and were putting coatings down and floor coatings and things like that",  said Giles.

The yet to be named vessel will feature a new color scheme, and more spacious common areas designed to be more user friendly for passengers.

But the heart of the 350 foot vessel remains the same. A power train that generates 44 thousand horsepower,  thanks to 4 hard charging German engines. But in today's economy, that power comes at a price according to the Alakai's" Chief Engineer.

"On a good day when we run at medium speed we burn about 550 to 6000 gallons of diesel" said Christian Yuhas.

"And on a heavy day when it's rough we have to go fast we burn more, about 8000".

The new vessel will incorporate all the latest safety equipment and technology now found on the Alakai.

It will also add a foldable ramp to assist in the loading, and off-loading of vehicles.

The second ship will allow Superferry to begin offering service to the Big Island by next summer. And despite last summer's rude, and even violent reception in Nawiliwili Harbor, the company remains hopefull it can one day resume service to Kauai.

"I've been over to Kauai and talked to community leaders and business leaders and political leadership" said Superferry President Thomas Fargo.

"We're listening to their concerns, and hopefully we'll be able to move forward".