Monday, May 12, 2008

HI Superferry: A few recent interesting reports

Just three things to mention today:

1) First, want to compliment the Coast Guard on the following. It caught my attention because of the wind and wave conditions that were reported. I would think paddlers would consult NOAA's Channel forecasts before going out. NOAA's forecasts seem quite accurate even 4 and 5 days out.

Posted on: Sunday, May 11, 2008
"Coast Guard rescues 6 paddlers off Maui"
By Mike Leidemann Advertiser Staff Writer

"Six people were rescued early yesterday morning after their outrigger canoe overturned in the Alenuihaha Channel 14 miles south of Maui, the Coast Guard said...No one was injured, and the Coast Guard praised the paddlers for doing things that made the rescue easier...Coast Guard officials said they received a distress call from the paddlers' hand-held VHF radio at about 3:15 a.m...When the rescue helicopter arrived on scene, a rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kris Grimm, was lowered into the water and helped each paddler into a rescue basket...Seas in the area were 7 feet [seems a little bit low to me] and winds were 25 knots at the time of the rescue, the Coast Guard said. A life raft was attached to the partially submerged canoe so it could be retrieved later, the Coast Guard said."

2) Recently reported events in Congress related to these matters:
May 9, 2008
"House panel puts brakes on..."
"Back in March, Gene Taylor (D.Miss), Chairman of the House Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, called the Navy's future shipbuilding plan "pure fantasy." Now, as part of its effort to get Navy shipbuilding on track to attain its 313 ship target, the subcommittee is trying to put the brakes on...
In its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (H.R. 5658)...
"This subcommittee has tried to work closely with the Navy leadership over the years to develop a workable strategy to restore the size of our fleet," said Chairman Gene Taylor (D. Miss.) in his opening statement at the markup session. "Unfortunately, the Department of Defense has not budgeted the required funds for Navy shipbuilding and continues to submit budget requests which reduce, not grow, the size of the fleet. The solution offered, every year, is that the solution will be delayed to future years. "
"I do not believe the plan to achieve a 313 ship fleet is achievable in its current form," continued Chairman Taylor, I am convinced that the only path to a 313 ship fleet is to build ships of a proven design and build them in sufficient numbers to realize shipyard efficiency. Today's mark is the first step toward that goal. The mark redirects Navy efforts for fiscal year 2009 and lays the framework for continued shipbuilding efforts in following years."
...Overall, for ship procurement the mark authorizes the construction of one Virginia Class Submarine, two Littoral Combat Ships, one Joint High Speed Vessel...
Maritime Provisions-- the mark includes authorization of funds for the operation and activities of the U.S. Maritime Administration, $178 million for the Maritime Security Fleet Program, $25 million in assistance to small shipyards, and $30 million for the Title XI Maritime Loan Guarantee Program."

3) Lastly, from Austal's own press release:
"Austal USA Update
The launch of INDEPENDENCE (LCS 2) closely follows the recent delivery of the first Hawaii Superferry vessel. A 107 metre vehicle and passenger carrying aluminium catamaran, Hawaii Superferry is Austal USA’s largest construction project to date and is the largest high speed aluminium catamaran built in the USA. A second identical ferry is currently under construction and is scheduled for launch in September 2008.
The recent purchase of an adjacent 100 acres of land and the award of US $33.7 million in funding from the US Navy for shipyard development will see Austal USA commence construction of a Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF) in 2008...
As the prime contractor, and the only shipyard with a track record of building large (over 100 metres in length) high speed aluminium vessels in the USA, Austal is confident of its ability to deliver a low risk JHSV platform to the US Navy and Army..."

Aloha, Brad

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