January 19, 2007
Austal launches first Hawaii Superferry
Austal USA, Mobile, Alabama, yesterday launched its Hull 615--the first Hawaii Superferry.
At first light, the Pete B dry dock was floated up the Mobile River and secured to Austal's bulkhead on the west side of the yard's assembly bay No.4. With the dry dock aligned and secured to the bulkhead the process of pulling the ferry out onto the drydock began. The ferry was then secured to the dry dock, which was moved back down river to complete the launch and float the ferry. The ferry currently sits in the Mobile River alongside Austal's south assembly bay bulkhead awaiting preparation for sea trials.
"Austal is proud to have designed and constructed this state-of-the-art vessel," said Austal's COO, Dan Spiegel. "It is the first one of its kind in the United States and we have been looking forward to the launch of this ferry for over two years since we celebrated the start of construction. This event represents Austal's superior capabilities when it comes to high-speed aluminum vessel design and construction."
Hawaii Superferry's first vessel is the largest aluminum passenger-vehicle ferry built in the U.S. to date, with a length of 349 ft 4 in, a beam of 78 ft 1 in and a draft of 11 ft 8 in.
The ferry will operate between the Hawaiian Islands at speeds up to 35 knots.
The vessel is four decks high, including two decks for parking 282 cars or 28 forty-foot trucks and 65 cars, one deck for passengers and the bridge deck reserved for the pilot and crew.
Two thirds of the second, mezzanine deck hoistable in order to facilitate parking for lighter cars and leave maximum parking space for the larger trucks.
The upper deck, or passenger deck, includes comfortable seating and amenities that include a bar and lounge at each end, food counter, gift shop, video game room, children's play area, restrooms, crew mess, purser's office, and first aid room.
Construction began on the Hawaii Superferry in June 2004 with a visit from a Kahu (Hawaiian priest) to formally bless the vessel, the construction hall and everyone that was involved in the project.
Full contract funding for this two-vessel project was confirmed in October 2005 making the contract unconditional and enabling work to be completed at an accelerated pace. Construction is advanced on the second ferry which is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2009 following the launch of Austal's first Littoral Combat Ship.