Hawaii Superferry will not move forward
with its previously announced plans to resume operations between
Oahu and Kauai on Sept. 26 after all.
has made the decision that in consideration for the safety of the
community, our passengers and our dedicated employees, the
resumption of service to Kauai will be delayed to an unspecified
future date," the company said in a statement.
The decision came
on the heels of a tense public meeting Thursday between Gov. Linda
Lingle and members of the Kauai community.
The meeting was
called to discuss a plan devised by the governor, government
leaders, law enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard that conceptually
would permit the ferry to operate in Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor
while accommodating environmentalists' protests against
Under the plan, law
enforcement agencies would establish a zone within the harbor where environmentalists
would be permitted to stage protests against the ferry without
blocking its passage.
The plan was
developed in response to an incident in August just one day after
the long-awaited service began.
fear the ferry will be harmful to sea life, rode surfboards and
formed a blockade to prevent the vessel's entry into Nawiliwili
Harbor. The service was suspended soon after.
The governor's plan
at first appeared to clear the way for Hawaii Superferry's
However, the public
meeting signaled the plan wasn't enough to quell the ongoing
For instance, while
a Kauai circuit court affirmed that Hawaii Superferry had complied
with certain environmental regulations and could operate between
Oahu and Kauai, at least one protestor attending the meeting
indicated that environmentalists had nevertheless petitioned the
court for a temporary restraining order [TRO] in an attempt to dry
dock the service until after the state conducts a broader
A separate TRO has
kept Hawaii Superferry from sailing between Maui and Oahu. That
service remains suspended until at least Sept. 30, when the circuit
court is expected to decide whether the ferry will be able to
operate between the two islands.
the meeting on Kauai framed the impasse over the ferry as a battle
between the environmental and cultural concerns of native Hawaiians
and the interests of big business and government.
At the same time,
some attendees at the meeting voiced support for the ferry service
and the potential convenience it could provide.
remains unclear when or if the $90 million ferry, capable of
transporting up to 866 passengers and 300 vehicles, will resume
contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].