Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Superferry Military Link

I just checked out Larry Geller's Disappeared News blog and he has a very interesting post that confirms something that many of us have believed all along: the Hawaii Superferry is indeed intended for military purposes.

Larry quotes a report in today's edition of BYM Marine and Maritime News that contains this nugget:

Austal was recently awarded a new contract to provide additional features and equipment on the second Hawaii Superferry to facilitate its use by the military. This follows on from the long term charter, since 2001, of the Austal built 101 metre vehicle-passenger catamaran “WestPac Express” by the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) based on Okinawa, Japan. As an adapted commercial vessel “WestPac Express” has demonstrated the enormous flexibility, cost savings and efficiencies achievable by commercial fast ferry technology over conventional air or sea transport.

As you may recall, the company had sought federal funding to equip the second ferry with ramps that would allow the military vehicles to easily access the ship. Other documents indicated that Austal also wanted to add desalination and sewage treatment plants and widen the hull to facilitate military uses. The total price tag was $5 million.

The article also states that Austal USA, which built the Alakai, continues to participate in the process to secure the lucrative Navy contract to build Joint High Speed Vessels for the military. It states:

The Austal JHSV Team’s low risk, proven technology solution combines the expertise of Austal USA, Austal Ships (Australia) and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS).

Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard is unique in having the proven infrastructure and trained workforce in place to design, construct, deliver and service 100 metre+ high speed ships in the US. Austal USA recently launched the 127 metre trimaran LCS-2 “Independence” combat ship for the US Navy and has under construction the second 107 metre Hawaii Superferry catamaran high speed vehicle-passenger ferry. In 2007 Austal USA delivered the first Hawaii Superferry “Alakai” for intra-island service in the Hawaiian islands.

Thanks, Larry, for picking up that bit of "news."


Anonymous said...

The legislators and others involved in this game had best take a long, hard look at the recent adventures of a certain Alaskan Senator.

You're next.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, only if they took illegal gifts.

Anonymous said...

No, whether or not they were dumb enough to do something as amateurish as taking illegal gifts.

Wait a while.

Anonymous said...

Like what's so bad about designing the ferry so it can meet multiple uses including moving armament. That's just plane common sense. Let the military move its striker vehicles around. Why does that threaten you so much?

Mauibrad said...

Sorry, I have not been able to get online for a couple days. Greg forwarded this news to me and I see Larry and Joan have posted about it.

I think HSF people would try to diminish this by saying this is old news, even though they have been trying to deny it for more than a year. The details, though, I think are more interesting than this recent press release, I mean of the $5 million improvements to the sister ship.

Will be interested to see details on the JHSV final submissions. Based on the comments of the two most recent commanding officers of the 'Swift,' I still think Incat makes the better ship. Wonder if the Navy is going to try to rush the award on the first JHSV before the next President can have a chance to say 'yes' or 'no' on it.

Did also notice the trouble reported recently of the senior Senator from Alaska.

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

The ramp qualifies the Superferry for the same VISA (Voluntary Intermodal Sealift) program that all the Matson and Horizon ships are in. This is similar to the Civil Reserve Airlift Fleet that Hawaiian and all the other airlines are in.

Anonymous said...

Soooo, is this something anybody can get upset about, or only if you hate the military?

Andy Parx said...

From Alabama's AI.COM

"The first superferry is in service in Hawaii, but the company's plan to run an inter-island ferry service has been plagued by environmental protests, and company officials could be positioning the vessel for sale to a third party."

Anonymous said...

I don't hate the military nor the HSF. If the military can in any assist the use of HSF for a commercial vessel transporting people/cars inter-island, and troops/mil equip as required via charters, I'm all for it.