Sunday, March 09, 2008


The Superferry drydock damage remains mysterious

by Larry Geller

Maybe it isn't very important. I can't help wondering, though, why newspaper readers must be the last to know about this.

Finally, in today's Advertiser, is a hint that something happened in the drydock (it's possible I missed something earlier, but I don't think so) (I'm sure someone will correct me if I have).

The hint comes in the front-page story, Superferry in drydock till April 22, by Christie Wilson:

Hawaii Superferry originally announced it would be in drydock until March 3 to strengthen the metal surrounding the auxiliary rudders after cracks were found. When the aluminum hull sustained damage during the drydocking process, the company delayed the restart of service until March 25.

Later in the same story:

The company announced yesterday the Alakai would be spending additional time in drydock. [Superferry director of business development Terry] O'Halloran said extra time is needed to finish repairs and the extension is not because of any new problems discovered while the ferry has been in drydock. He did not have an estimate of the cost of repairs.

Since there isn't any detail, readers who have not seen the coverage on KGMB or read about it on the blogs will not have much background on what the article is talking about here.

Again, this is in contrast to the article on Hawaii Reporter yesterday, credited to Lori Abe, "a spokesperson for the Hawaii Superferry."

HONOLULU - Hawaii Superferry announced today that it is extending the amount of time the Alakai will be in drydock because work to repair damage to the ship that occurred during the drydocking process is going to take longer than was previously projected.

Over at the Star-Bulletin, a short breaking news article yesterday put it this way:

The company is working to repair damage to the 350-foot catamaran that occurred during the routine dry-dock process.

The KGMB/blog reports, if they were accurate, might make suggest that the word "routine" is not quite right to describe what befell the ship.

I don't take the Sunday Star-Bulletin, but didn't find anything at all on their website other than yesterday's breaking news.

So again, this is not the most important concern as far as ferry operations go. What's busted should be fixed. Still, it's strange that there hasn't been more detail in the papers on this. Why? Because the clock is ticking on reports, and passengers are probably curious about anything that could affect safety.

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