Friday, May 2, 2008

Superferry not for cargo

A common rant on this forum is "after a hurricane the Superferry will be needed to move emergency people and cargo."

But the truth is, after a hurricane, Superferry will likely be grounded for several reasons.

First, the ocean will be filled with floating debris from logs and branches to wood building material. This flotsam could easily damage Superferry's relatively thin aluminum hull and also get sucked into its waterjets.

Second, pier facilities for docking and unloading will most certainly be damaged if not washed away completely.

The primary method for moving emergency supplies and personnel after a natural disaster is by air.

It is only necessary to clear the runway of debris and if that cannot be done, the military has perfected methods of pushing cargo on skids out the back of airplanes while flying low. Large cargo helicopters are also plentiful on Hawai'i.

Day-to-day moving of relatively small and lightweight cargo is most efficiently done by air. Large or heavy items are most efficiently moved by slow-moving barge. Superferry is designed for high-speed trafficking of people and vehicles, it is not designed for moving cargo cheaply.

One carrier that moved 85 percent of the cargo is out of business. Aloha's void will soon be filled. Superferry is not a long-term solution.

Homeless, drugs, criminals, frogs, snakes, bugs and weeds aside, Superferry is only running at about 1/4 capacity and this reader does not understand how it can remain a viable business for much longer.

T.L. Cameron
Boulder Creek, Calif.