Superferry completes ocean trials
Hawaii Superferry, scheduled to launch service in the state in July, successfully completed its inaugural sea trials yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico off Mobile, Ala.
Austal Ltd., which built the 349-foot vessel, tested the catamaran in open water to measure speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features.
"Sea trials went very well and we are extremely pleased with the capabilities of this vessel," said Dan Spiegel, Austal's chief operating officer. "It's truly remarkable to experience the power and control of this catamaran. Completing sea trials in only five days and achieving or surpassing all performance parameters specified for the vessel is an excellent result."
Hawaii Superferry, which had been under construction at the Australian company's U.S. shipyard in Mobile since June 2004, is expected to be handed over by the builder at the end of this month to begin its journey to Hawaii via the Panama Canal in May. A christening and naming ceremony for the vessel will be held Saturday in Mobile.
The vessel will operate separate once-daily voyages from Oahu to both Maui and Kauai, with ticket sales beginning next month. A second ferry scheduled to arrive in early 2009 will enable the company to offer service to the Big Island and a second daily route to Maui.