Alakai gets call for Haiti relief duty
Alakai, the defunct Hawaii Superferry catamaran, will soon sail again.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced today that the Department’s Maritime Administration has started preparing Alakai for relief duty in Haiti. The ship will be crewed by civilian mariners.
“This ship will help our relief workers on the ground by allowing quick movements of people in and out of Haiti from various staging points,” LaHood said in a statement.
Alakai is a high-speed passenger and vehicle ferry, originally built for service in Hawaii. It is capable of carrying up to 866 passengers, as well as relief cargo at a top speed of nearly 40 knots in the open ocean.
The catamaran hull gives the ship great stability in the water. It is currently undergoing preparations to leave its current location in Norfolk, VA.
Alakai joins five other MARAD ships activated over the past week: the Gopher State and Cornhusker State, based in Newport News, Va.; the Cape May and Huakai (Hawaii Superferry’s second ship, which never got to sail in the Islands), based in Norfolk, Va., and the Petersburg, based in Alameda, Calif.