Hawaii: Austal built Superferry Alakai, back in service after drydocking

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The 107 metre high-speed vehicle-passenger ferry “Alakai”, built for Hawaii Superferry, has recommenced its daily service between Maui and Oahu following a period in drydock.

Annual dry docking of the vessel was brought forward by Hawaii Superferry due to inclement weather, allowing inspection of the vessel and minor repairs. Prior to dry docking, Austal had performed a temporary repair between the rudder tube and hull plating, as approved by the United States Coast Guard and classification society Germanischer Lloyd.

During the dry docking process, which was undertaken by a Hawaiian shipyard, the vessel sustained damage after the tug positioning “Alakai” lost power and collided heavily with the catamaran. Further damage was sustained after the local shipyard incorrectly blocked the vessel during drydocking.

At the request of Hawaii Superferry, service representatives from Austal USA’s 1200-strong workforce were called onsite to perform the repairs, which were completed within four weeks. With the vessel now fully operational again, Hawaii Superferry has announced the introduction of a second voyage four days per week between Maui and Oahu, commencing May 9.

Meanwhile, impressive footage of the 107 metre catamaran ferry operating at speed in estimated Sea State 6 conditions off the Hawaiian Islands coastline has appeared on YouTube. Crew onboard at the time reported that the vessel performed very well in the extreme operating conditions.

Constructed at Austal’s American shipyard located in Mobile, Alabama, the 107 metre “Alakai” is the largest high speed vessel ever built in the US - a title which will soon be transferred to the 127 metre trimaran Littoral Combat Ship, LCS-2 “Independence”, currently under construction at Austal USA. Delivered ahead of schedule in May 2007, “Alakai” boasts a service speed of 40 knots and the capacity to carry 866 passengers and 282 cars. It is powered by four MTU 20V 8000 diesel engines.

Austal boasts the largest trained workforce for the construction of aluminium high speed vessels in the US and has designed and built six vessels over 100 metres in length. The 101 metre catamarans “Euroferrys Pacifica” and “WestPac Express” have each been operating in commercial and military service respectively for seven years and the 127 metre trimaran “Benchijigua Express” for three years. “Alakai” was the fourth and two others – LCS-2 “Independence” and a sister vessel to “Alakai” – are currently under construction and will be launched this year.

As further evidence of its leadership in the design and construction of high speed vessels, Austal is currently building a total of seven vessels over 50 metres in length.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 April 2008 )