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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hawaii waters being sailed by movie pirate ship Black Pearl


By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Black Pearl is Capt. Jack Sparrow's prized ship in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Advertiser library photo

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A famous pirate ship will sail into Hawai'i waters tomorrow, but never fear, matey, it's on a peaceful voyage.

To prepare for the summer filming of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," Walt Disney Pictures is bringing the ship that serves as the Black Pearl to Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor.

Although distinctive, the 130-foot black ship won't look as foreboding as it did on screen, because Disney still needs to dress it up for the fourth installment of the successful film series, said Georja Skinner, administrator for the state's creative services division, which oversees the Hawai'i Film Office.

"It's not all decked out," she said. "There is still work that needs to be done on it. It is coming in so that builds can begin."

The harbor is a secure facility, so the public won't be able to view the ship up close. Find the right crow's nest tomorrow morning, though, and you might catch its 7 a.m. arrival.

The latest installment in the action-adventure series will be shot on Kaua'i and O'ahu and is scheduled for release in summer 2011.

Johnny Depp will once again star as the most lovable pirate ever to wear eyeliner, Capt. Jack Sparrow. The film is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall.

Even without computer-generated images that complete its look on film, the Black Pearl is not all that it seems. On the outside, it looks like a 17th-century warship but avast! it's actually a floating facade.

The Black Pearl, which officially bears the name Sunset, was built in 2005 around a 96-foot steel, offshore supply ship by Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Ala., then sailed to the West Indies for filming and then to the Bahamas. The voyage to Hawai'i included a stop in Los Angeles.

But arrgh, those masts are for show: The 208-ton light ship has an engine that can move it along at 9 knots.