Posted on: Sunday, September 2, 2007
Court told delay would hurt Alakai's military usefulness
|•||Hawaii Superferry fought need for EIS|
Hawaii Superferry's Alakai has considerable military utility that could be diminished if ferry operations are delayed, a federal maritime official has said.
Sean Connaughton, the administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, said in a declaration in Maui Circuit Court last week that the Alakai could be used by the military because of its speed and cargo capacity.
The federal maritime administration approved $140 million in loan guarantees for the construction of the Alakai and a second ferry.
Connaughton said the Alakai has been approved for inclusion in the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement program, which provides the military access to commercial sealift capacity in times of war or national emergency.
Matson Navigation Co. and Horizon Lines, which dominate the state's shipping market, have also participated in the program.
But Connaughton said the military utility of the Alakai could be diminished if it is not used in normal commercial operations.
"Consequently, the military readiness of the nation could be diminished if the Alakai is precluded from sustaining normal commercial operations," he told the court.
Some Superferry opponents believe the Alakai and a second ferry could be used to transport the Army's Stryker brigade vehicles.