The new interisland
Hawaii Superferry has resumed limited service under increased
security after it was brought to a halt in late August by
environmentalist groups just one day after setting sail for the
The ferry, which attempted to provide
interisland service between Oahu, Maui and Kauai, ran into trouble
immediately after beginning its inaugural run on Aug. 25, when it
was hit with a temporary restraining order, filed by eco-activists
concerned for the safety of island marine life, and prohibited from
docking in Maui’s Kahului Harbor.
When the ferry tried to sail the other
leg of its route, to Kauai, protesters aboard surfboards and canoes
attempted to block its passage into Nawiliwili Harbor, and a
restraining order was filed in circuit court by the environmental
group 1000 Friends of Kauai. That request was denied, but the
vessel chose to suspend service altogether after the U.S. Coast
Guard was unable to guarantee its safe passage.
The ruling that suspended service to
Maui was made in light of an Aug. 23 Hawaii Supreme Court decision
requiring the ferry company to undergo environmental review,
overturning a lower court’s 2005 decision to spare the service from
Representatives of the Superferry
issued a statement asserting that the company “complied with, and
in many instances exceeded, Hawaiian and federal environmental
regulations.” But organizations such as the Sierra Club and Maui
Tomorrow argued that a state-run, environmental impact study needed
to be administered before service could resume.
In mid-September, the court allowed the
ferry to resume its Oahu/Kauai route; whether Oahu/Maui service
would resume while an impact study is underway was the subject of a
series of court hearings taking place at press time.