The Navy has just gotten $210 million worth of high speed cats for $35 million. The U.S. Maritime Administration reports that it has now transferred the former Hawaii super ferries Huakai and Alakai to the U.S. Navy and that the Navy provided $35 million to the Maritime Administration for both vessels.
Back in October 2005 we reported shipbuilder Austal USA as saying that the order for the pair had become unconditional following Maritime Administration approval of a $139,731,000 Title XI loan guarantee, or approximately 78.5 percent of a total shipbuilding project cost of $178 million. That allowed the signing of a $210 million financial closing agreement .
That works out at a ship price of $105 million a copy (at 2005 prices), which compares with the $151.8 million to $185.4 million a copy the Navy is paying for the seven JHSV's on order at Austal USA.
The Navy plans to use Huakai and Alakai to transport troops and equipment to training areas from Okinawa and other locations. These vessels will help the Navy meet these unique operational requirements without the need to build new vessels. Powered by waterjet engines, the catamarans can each carry 288 cars and 866 passengers.
The Maritime Administration took possession of the two ships after Hawaii Superferry, Inc., defaulted on the loans that the Maritime Administration had guaranteed.
The vessels are currently docked at Lamberts Point in Norfolk, Va.
January 29, 2012