POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

Maritime to sell Superferry's two vessels

The Hawaii Superferry's two vessels are being moved to a Norfolk, Va., shipyard under the custody of the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Court records show that Hawaii Superferry owes the Maritime Administration, the bankrupt company's main creditor, $136.8 million. Mobile, Ala.-based Austal, which built both ferries under a $190 million contract, is owed $22.9 million.

The Maritime Administration has said it plans to repossess and sell the vessels.

Maritime Administration spokeswoman Susan Clark couldn't say whether the Navy plans to look at the ferries while they're stationed in Norfolk.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the military wants to lease two high-speed ferries to fill the gap before the first of 10 transport vessels are completed starting in 2011.


DLNR adjusts worker hours to accommodate catfishing

Catfish will be biting despite state budget problems that had threatened to end the Department of Land and Natural Resources' popular summer catfishing season at Nuuanu Reservoir.

The season was originally scheduled to begin yesterday, and state officials weren't sure if the season would happen at all because of budget cutbacks.

But on Friday DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward said that by adjusting the schedules of workers and limiting the sessions to one a day, the reservoir could be opened to freshwater fishing on weekends, starting Aug. 1.

Laura Thielen, DLNR chairwoman, said, “;We have found a way to continue this popular fishing activity—despite the serious fiscal emergency facing the state.”;

Ward said the fishing sessions will continue until all 7,200 people who applied for a fishing date are accommodated.


Coast Guard still reviewing catamaran's seaworthiness

U.S. Coast Guard officials are continuing to review the seaworthiness of a 98-ton steel catamaran that plans to offer ocean activities off Waikiki.

Coast Guard Lt. John Tichen said officials are awaiting information from the owner of the KanDoo! Island about modifications to the 142-foot vessel.

“;We actually have a good working relationship with the owner. He's doing what he can,”; Tichen said.

Robert J. Maynard Jr., owner of the KanDoo!, said he's optimistic about when his business will open, even though it missed its July 4 target date.

Maynard said the Coast Guard has been doing a great job of conducting its safety review.

“;It would be foolish to take a shortcut,”; he said.



New facility will help papaya sales

The agricultural industry on Kauai will get a boost with the refurbishing of the Kauai Tropical Fruit Disinfestation Facility, according to a news release.

The facility should be completed in about six months and will open early next year.

The facility is designed to rid fruit of insects, allowing the fruit to be shipped to the mainland, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.

Once the disinfestation facility starts operations, the value of papaya production is expected to increase within two years to $1.2 million annually, compared with $258,000 in 2003, according to the release.