Orca and Superferries

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that researchers studying the effects of naval sonar on marine mammals spotted a pod of orca off Kaua’i:

The whales appeared at about 9 a.m. Sunday in the channel between Kauai and Niihau where Baird and other Cascadia scientists are conducting a three-week project for the Navy to gauge the effect of sonar training on various species of marine mammals.

The project, which began Wednesday and ends Aug. 8, involves tagging tooth-whale species, including false killer whales, short-finned pilot whales and Blainville’s beaked whales.


The scientists will study the habitat and population, and the behavior and response to sonar during an upcoming submarine training exercise.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Administration received four bids for the two Hawaii Superferry catamarans:

An effort by the federal government to sell the two former Hawaii Superferry high-speed catamarans has attracted four interested buyers, though it’s not certain when or if a winning bidder will be picked.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration said on Monday it received four bids to buy the two ships, the 321-foot Alakai and 338-foot Huakai. But the agency said it can’t identify the bidders or say when it might complete its review of the bids.

The first time the ships came up for auction during foreclosure proceedings, no bidders came close to the actual cost of building the ships:

The agency provided two loan guarantees totaling roughly $140 million toward the $190 million construction cost of the two ships for the Superferry. At the foreclosure auction, no one bid more than $25 million per ship, so the agency kept the vessels.

The Superferry were proposed as transport vessels for Strykers and other military equipment.  It was the prototype for the Joint High Speed Vessel, a fast military transport ship.  Community protest and legal challenges successfully stopped the invasive project.

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