Friday, January 29, 2010
The mothballed Hawaii Superferry is being put to work shuttling troops, aid workers, trucks and supplies for Haiti relief work. The 866 passenger ship cruises at twice the speed of the Army ships and with built-in luxuries such as flat-screen tv's, comfortable airline seats, civilian crew and high tech galley, none of the soldiers are complaining. A second Superferry, out of service in Honolulu, is also on the way.
After years of controversy about the ferries in the Islands, this mission of aloha is one that unites all Hawaiians. The ships were out of service due to lack of economic viability—and that resulted from poor choices for consumers and conflict over adverse environmental impacts from the over-sized vessels. (A few years ago on Kauai, a makeshift flotilla of kayaks, fishing boats, and outriggers blockaded Nawiliwili Harbor.) Most Hawaiians are happy to see the big boats sail off into the sunset, especially since they are embarking on a much-needed mission of mercy.