Maui News

Superferry CEO Says No Short-Term Solution in Sight

March 19, 2009, 8:03 AM HST
* Updated January 6, 12:47 PM
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The Hawaii Superferry to depart from Maui at 11:15 a.m. on a final voyage before the company suspends service and lays off 236 workers.  Photo by Wendy OSHER © 2009

The Hawaii Superferry to depart from Maui at 11:15 a.m. on a final voyage before the company suspends service and lays off 236 workers. Photo by Wendy OSHER © 2009

By Wendy Osher

The Hawaii Superferry began its last round trip this morning and is scheduled to depart from Maui at 11:15 a.m. on its final voyage to Oahu.

Both Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines have stepped in to help with special fares for affected passengers.

The superferry will begin laying off 236 workers tomorrow. The suspension comes just days after a State Supreme Court ruling that said a special law that allowed the company to operate while conducting an EIS, was unconstitutional.

The company released a statement this morning, saying that with no short-term solution in sight, it will have to find other employment for the vessel.


Company President Tom Fargo said, “To conduct another EIS, even with the work done to date, and move it through legal review might take a year or so.” He went on to say, other options do not provide the certainty necessary to sustain a business.


“As a result, we are going to have to go out and find other employment for Alakai, for now,” said Fargo.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to the more than 250,000 customers who have voyaged and booked with us and to all who have supported our service. I am especially grateful to the businesses that have sailed with us and now have apparently lost an economical alternative – Love’s Bakery, CFI, Expeditors, FedEx, to name a few, as well as a host of smaller companies,” Fargo said.

“This is a difficult time for all of us. Our employees have been nothing but stellar in their dedication to our company and in their service to our customers and our community. I have been impressed with the commitment of our team in executing with great detail and energy all of our procedures to properly address environmental concerns and provide our passengers with the best customer service,” said Fargo.


“After a year of operations, including a successful winter season, we looked forward to the upcoming spring break with great energy and enthusiasm. Obviously, this is not even close to our preferred outcome. We have believed from the start and continue to believe that there is a clear and unmet need for an Inter-Island High Speed Ferry System for the state. My hope, our hope, is that the conditions will eventually be such that we can realize that vision in Hawaii,” Fargo said.

(Photos and story by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

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