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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hawaii Super Ferry Shut Down

According to the AP this morning a judge in Hawaii shut down the operation of the Hawaii Superferry. The boat had only made one trip before it was asked to cease operations.

The argument against the ferry, posed by environmental groups, is that it threatens the humback whales' sanctuary and the delicate marine environment of the islands. Because of its intended route and its speed (it travels at speeds in excess of 40 mph), scientists worry it will disrupt whale activity and increase ship traffic and the possibility of deadly collisions. An additional concern is that it will introduce invasive species of plants and animals into protected habitats.

The judge ordered an end to ferry service until an environmental impact study was completed, a process that is slated to take 8 months.

Ferry representatives said they are not sure what they will do in the interim but you can bet they're looking for a route and a berth elsewhere. They have another ferry on the ways in the U.S. so it's unlikely they can afford to wait the 8 months.

It's hard to imagine launching a $300 Million ferry venture without first conducting an environmental impact study, especially when the ferry is planning to traverse one of the richest marine environments in the world.

Ship owners and operators should take this news to heart. You can't underestimate the power (and anger) of the people and their advocates.


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