court in Maui has ruled that the Hawaii Superferry must remain
docked until after the state completes a months-long environmental
Maui Circuit Judge
Joseph Cardoza handed down his ruling on Oct. 9 after hearing
approximately four weeks of testimony from several entities,
including environmental experts who argued both in favor and
against the Superferry operation.
Cardoza granted an
injunction sought by environment groups, ruling that an environmental study is
required under state law and has to be completed before the Hawaii
Superferry can operate.
The study is
expected to determine whether or not the high-speed ferry will
negatively impact sea life, such as humpback whales, as well as the
overall environment. According to Associated Press reports, the
study could take at least eight months to complete.
appeared as if the court ruling would also impact Hawaii
Superferrys operations in other parts of the state.
According to a
Honolulu Advertiser report, in granting the injunction Cardoza also
nullified an agreement forged between the Hawaii Superferry and the
Hawaii's Dept. of Transportation that involved operating in other
Aside from the
Oahu/Maui route, Hawaii Superferry also operates between Oahu and
Kauai, although that service was suspended several weeks ago do to
circumstances involving protests by environmental
ruling provided a significant victory for environmental groups who
have long pressed for the impact study, despite the ferrys
contention that its operations already adhered to the states
While the courts
ruling is a major setback for the ferry, it nonetheless may not be
the final word.
Advertiser has reported that the Hawaii Superferry intends to
quickly file an appeal.
contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].