By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau
WAILUKU, Maui The launch date of the Molokai-to-Maui ferry has been pushed back to the end of February because bad weather in Seattle delayed refitting of a newly acquired 149-passenger vessel.
But the sun is shining again now that the newly named Molokai Princess is crossing the Pacific and heading to Hawaii, the boats owner said yesterday.
"The boat is running wonderfully," said Dave Jung, chief executive of Sea Link of Hawaii.
The company is planning service between Kaunakakai and Lahaina on the 100-foot ship. The boat had been undergoing a $250,000 overhaul in Seattle, but storms caused delays in both the refitting and launching.
After refueling in San Francisco, the Molokai Princess embarked on its 10-day voyage across the Pacific three ago. In Honolulu, it will undergo two weeks of cleanup and other work.
Sea Link plans daily round-trip service Mondays through Saturdays. The charge for Molokai commuters is expected to be $15 for a round trip. Others will pay $40 each way, $20 each way for children.
Jung, who said he hopes government agencies will help workers pay for their transportation, said the ferrys priority is carrying Molokai residents to jobs on Maui. The second is to offer opportunities for one-day shopping trips.
Meanwhile, a job fair on economically strapped Molokai drew 200 people, many of whom were interested in working on West Maui and commuting by ferry.
Alberta Napoleon-Lucas, office manager of the Workforce Development Division of the state Department of Labor, said 175 people filled out job applications at Kaunakakai School last Saturday.
The job fair, cosponsored by state Sen. Jan Buen, D-4th (West Maui, Molokai, Lanai) grew in importance because of the recently announced temporary closing of West Molokais Kaluakoi Resort, which put 90 employees on notice that they may lose their jobs.
Jung said that while he is sorry about the resorts apparent demise, the closure probably will result in extra ridership, making the ferry service more viable.
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