Monday, September 19, 2011

What's up with the Ferries?

U.S. weighs four bids on Hawaiian superferries

The Alakai and Huakai, two Hawaiian superferries docked at Lambert’s Point , may soon be changing hands.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, which put the two vessels up for sale on an “as is, where is” basis in late June, has received four bids.

They were due by 5 p.m. July 20.

The administration is “working expeditiously with bidders and other interested parties in evaluating its options, with a goal of maximizing the government’s return from these vessels,” according to a spokeswoman.

The June 20 sale notice in the Federal Register made it clear the ferries would not be given away.

The administration reserved “the right to reject any and all bids and to seek additional bids from the bidders and any other interested parties.”

The plan was to sell the ferries together – they would be sold separately only if they could be sold at the same time, according to the notice.

Also required: cash sale or owner-procured financing, plus a $500,000 non-refundable deposit for each ferry.

The administration took possession of the ferries in July 2009 after a bankruptcy judge ruled that the owner – Hawaii Superferry Inc. – could abandon them to lenders, owed nearly $159 million. The administration, which guaranteed the loans, moved them to Norfolk. -- Robert McCabe