Friday, March 28, 2008

HI Superferry: Wow, that was fast...back from drydock

"Superferry Returns To Honolulu Harbor
Vessel Spent Weeks In Dry Dock For Repairs"
POSTED: 8:37 pm HST March 27, 2008

"HONOLULU -- After more than a month under repair the Hawaii Superferry returned to its berth on Thursday. The troubled vessel now faces a Coast Guard inspection. "From the ship handling standpoint, this was kind of an abnormal day and an abnormal job," harbor pilot Capt. Edward Enos said....On Monday it will go to sea for its annual Coast Guard inspection. Going along on Monday's trial will be an 'international expert' in the Superferry's type of vessel....The Superferry's next challenge is to prove its reliability. Customers need to be sure that if they take their car to a neighbor island and they will be able to get it back after some were stranded over time."

Also, the Kailua Kona Act. 2 "EIS" scoping meeting took place yesterday. Here is a good AP report on it. [I will post a compilation of all the media reports on the Act. 2 scoping meetings]:

Posted on: Friday, March 28, 2008
"Some in Kawaihae say town has little to offer ferry riders"
By Karin Stanton -- Associated Press

"KAILUA KONA, Hawai'i — Kawaihae town is not ready to handle Hawaii Superferry passengers in large numbers, residents told state officials and consultants.

Six people testified at yesterday afternoon's informational session; more people were expected to attend a second session last night.

The sessions, which started March 11 on Moloka'i and end Monday on Lana'i, are part of a statewide effort to gather public input ahead of a special environmental impact statement officials said they expect to finalize by May 2009.

The study, mandated last year, will address secondary impacts associated with Hawaii Superferry, which has struggled to keep afloat in a sea of legal and technical trouble and waves of community resistance since its launch last summer.

"We haven't received input that was unexpected," said Mike Formby, state Department of Transportation Harbors Division deputy director.

"Most people have highlighted impacts they want us to address. That includes traffic and invasive species, as well as military use and environmental impacts from that."

The Hawaii Superferry is scheduled to begin service to the west side of the Big Island in 2009, although a new multi-use pier is not expected to be completed by then.

Kawaihae Harbor is the only one of the four scheduled ferry ports in the state that does not accommodate cruise ships.

Although barges, cargo ships and the military regularly use Kawaihae Harbor, the town is served by a two-lane road and has little in the way of visitor attractions or services other than a couple of small restaurants and art galleries.

Kailua, Kona, is an hour's drive south, and Hilo is about 90 minutes away by car.

By comparison, the ferry docks right in developed and populated areas in Honolulu and Kahului, Maui. A strip mall is next to Nawiliwili Harbor on Kaua'i.

Three people said they would like the environmental impact study to address traffic control issues, pedestrian safety and protection of culturally significant sites.

Jim Donovan, a Kawaihae real-estate agent, said the area is not, and likely cannot be developed into, a visitor destination, especially for ferry passengers who arrive without vehicles.

"It's a small town and doesn't really have the attractions tourists are looking for," he said. "What are people going to do?"

James Karkheck, a Captain Cook coffee and fruit farmer, said he can see the benefits of Superferry for some commercial and military uses, but has not yet seen how it might benefit him.

"Tell me how it's going to help me get my produce to market, because I'm a farmer, and it's impractical.

'It's geared to the kind of traffic that will be least beneficial to the island,' he said."

Aloha, Brad

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