Former Superferry ALAKAI en route to Maine
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, June 3, 2016
The Workboat Magazine published on June 3, 2016, a news article, “Maine-Nova Scotia ferry The Cat completes sea trials,´ reporting that THE CAT (formerly USNS PUERTO RICO (HST-2), ALAKAI) competed sea trials after refit in South Carolina and as of Thursday, June 2, 2016, was en route to Portland, Maine, for its next employment.
The new operator, Bay Ferries, will employ THE CAT between Portland, Maine, USA, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, a distance of 185 n miles. That is roughly comparable to the distance between Honolulu, Oahu, and Kawaihae, West Hawaii Island, of 140 n miles, the route which the ALAKAI’s sister HUAKAI (now USNS GUAM HST-1)) was intended to service.
Bay Ferries is almost ready to restart daily service between Maine and Nova Scotia. The company announced Thursday that the 349’x78’x12’ catamaran ferry The Cat has completed sea trials and is headed for Portland, Maine, to take up its new route.
The Cat had been in Charleston, S.C. undergoing renovations and repairs at Detyens Shipyard Inc.
This is the third reincarnation for The Cat, which was built by Austal USA for Hawaii Superferry and entered service as the Alakai. The venture proved short-lived amid opposition from environmental activists and other critics, ending after Hawaii’s state Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a state law that allowed the service between Oahu and Maui to operate without an environmental review.
The company said that during sea trials, the ferry achieved a speed of 42 knots, with normal open sea operating speed expected to be 33-35 knots. The Cat is expected to take 5.5 hours to complete the 185-nautical-mi. crossing between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Service is expected to begin June 15, after final regulatory approvals, insurance certification, training, and testing of life-saving equipment, the company said.
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Former Hawaii Superferry refitted for next employment
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, June 2, 2016
The Marine Log Magazine published on June 1, 2016, the news article, “Ex-Hawaii ferry readies for role as The CAT,” reporting that the former Hawaii Superferry vessel ALAKAI is nearing completion of refitting at a shipyard in South Carolina for her employment as the “CAT” ferry between Nova Scotia, Canada, and Maine, USA.
Bay Ferries Limited reports that The CAT high-speed ferry was refloated May 25 following an extensive period of refit, upgrade, and repair at Detyens Shipyards, Charleston, SC, that commenced in early April.
As we reported March 30, (see earlier story) the vessel is the former Hawaii Superferry Alakai, one of two high speed catamarans delivered in 2007 by shipbuilder Austal USA and that operated in Hawaiian interisland service until March 2009.
After the demise of the Hawaii Superferry operation, the vessel eventually wound up in Navy ownership as the USNS Puerto Rico (HST-2). Bay Ferries Limited is chartering her from the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.
She is set to enter ferry service, as The CAT, between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Portland, ME, on June 15.
The vessel has been undergoing extensive work at Detyens that is continuing. Following float out from the shipyard's dry dock, final work includes completion of regulatory inspections and dock and sea trials before the vessel departs South Carolina for Yarmouth and Portland. The final schedule for the vessel's northern voyage has not yet been set.
MLM: Ex-Hawaii ferry readies for role as The CAT