For the first time since it filed for Chapter 11, Hawaii Superferry is flatly saying it won’t be back. Ever.

A Superferry lawyer told a bankruptcy judge in Wilmington, Del., the company won’t be returning to Hawaii, now that the judge has granted a motion to abandon its two ferries, handing them over to a federal agency that helped fund their construction.

Those who opposed Superferry in court blame the state for not doing the environmental impact statement the way they wanted in the first place. They argue that officials tried to skirt the regulations and should have simply followed them.

Those who wanted Superferry blame the opponents for fighting an enterprise that posed less threat to whales than tour boats do, and offered less opportunity for the spread of invasive species than Young Brothers does.

Both are right.

The demise of the Superferry dream was just one development Wednesday in the world of bankruptcies. A judge in Honolulu unexpectedly refused to extend Hawaiian Telcom’s exclusive power to draft a reorganization plan for itself, and said he would allow consideration of a rival plan by Sandwich Isles Communications.

Sandwich Isles hasn’t got financing to swallow Hawaiian Telcom, but it might be able to line up some now that it’s no longer simply being shut out. The judge indicated that he thought it would do no harm for the creditors to be able to review a couple of options, and he’s right.

That’s similar to the situation with Hilo Hattie, in which both of its two largest vendors are now working on reorganization efforts.

The bankruptcies keep on coming, by the way: the national bath and candle retailer Evelyn & Crabtree filed for Chapter 11 on Wednesday. Its Ala Moana Center store remains open for business.

There were 271 bankruptcy filings at the Honolulu federal bankruptcy office in June, the most in years, but most of those were Chapter 7 liquidations.

Comments

7 Responses to “Hawaii Superferry abandons ship, and other bankruptcies in the news”

  1. Mauibrad on July 1st, 2009 8:10 pm

    Re: “ship” you meant ships, yeah?

    Re: “…an enterprise that posed less threat to whales than tour boats do, and offered less opportunity for the spread of invasive species than Young Brothers does.

    Both are right.”

    Not really, we won’t ever know because the ferry never got going with a full head of steam with two or more vessels plowing through the sanctuary during the full whale season. They were down a lot of months of the whale seasons and never got the second vessel going. With the potential for many more interisland transits per day than YB, the greater threat to spread invasive species was there, but never realized because the company didn’t get it’s **** together before Act 2 was struck down.

    [You're making the assumption that Superferry would have hit some whales or spread some species had it operated longer. Could be. But Superferry posed less threat to whales than tour boats because it sought to avoid whales while tour boats place themselves in the way; Superferry posed less threat to whales than cruise ships because, unlike cruise ships, it could brake and turn at the same time. As for my assertion that Young Brothers poses a greater threat of spreading invasive species, I based that on the fact that Superferry was under close scrutiny and Young Brothers isn't. I'm still waiting for Superferry opponents to turn their attention to existing environmental threats of interisland transportation, even if only through jawboning. HMD]

  2. Sandwich Isles Communications Proposal To Buy Hawaiian Telcom Lives Another Day « The Kona Blog on July 1st, 2009 8:18 pm

    [...] Posted by Aaron Stene in Hawaii Politics, Hawaii Technology. trackback Howard Dicus reports that the bankruptcy judge handling Hawaiian Telcom’s case has allowed Sandwich Isles Communications…. This is absolutely bad news for Hawaii’s key telecommunications company. It will ultimately [...]

  3. j.k. on July 2nd, 2009 7:49 am

    A well written article. I only wish my fellow residents on Kaua’i could have seen the positive potential the Superferry could have brought to our islands. I believe the positives far out-weighed the negatives. I agree with you that some decided to focus on “future” threats instead of focusing on threats that are already in exsistance. Matson and Young Brothers and cruise ships and tour boats, they all didn’t and still don’t have strict regulations as to our environment. To say that Superferry would have caused more problems for Hawaii was a premature statement at best since they have nothing to compare it too; this is based on the fact that the companies mentioned above weren’t being and still AREN’T being monitored. I didn’t expect the Superferry to have all the kinks worked out at launch, like every other business it had to work it’s way through growing pains. To have expected the Superferry to have a perfect plan to start with is prejudice in itself.

    I would have loved to give Superferry a chance to prove itself, that it’s strict policies and regulations would really work (since no other ship out there has those regulations in place today), and the chance to re-unify our state as one heartbeach instead of 7. Unfortunately, I will never see that potential.

  4. j.k. on July 2nd, 2009 7:58 am

    Oh, and as for Hawaiian Telcom and Sandwhich Isle Communications I hope Sandwhich Isle can provide some noteworthy ideas for the bigger company. Sometimes, they’re more creative with money saving, quality producing approaches than the big leaguers because of their size and the fact they have to use other means on attracting customers. I’ll be very interested in seeing this outcome.

  5. Mauibrad on July 3rd, 2009 8:12 am

    Re: “…But Superferry posed less threat to whales than tour boats because it sought to avoid whales while tour boats place themselves in the way; Superferry posed less threat to whales than cruise ships because, unlike cruise ships, it could brake and turn at the same time…”

    The leading scientific studies show that the speed and mass of the vessel are what kill whales. Small tour boats moving slowly are unlikely to kill whales and don’t hit them that often. Cruise ships have the mass, but their slower speed makes them less of a threat than a large high speed vessel. HSV’s are manuverable, but moving at even 25 knots they cannot definitively avoid a whale sited within 100 or slightly more meters of the vessel. During the height of the whale season those types of close encounters can be expected to happen often. A large HSV moving at 25 knots on a fatal glancing blow to a whale might not even know it had hit the whale. Thus a logical reason why fatal encounters could go honestly unreported.

    Re: “As for my assertion that Young Brothers poses a greater threat of spreading invasive species, I based that on the fact that Superferry was under close scrutiny and Young Brothers isn’t…”

    Certainly the amount of time of their respective operations would support your assumption, but if HSF had continued operating, given an equal amount of time for each going forward, HSF would have been much more of a threat to spread invasive species because of the expected greater number of daily interisland transits by HSF’s 2+ vessels and esp. because of the quick roll-on roll-off capability of autos. The inspection regime that was being used was not good enough to have caught all of the places (cracks and crevises) on autos that invasive species could have stowed away on interisland transits.

    “I’m still waiting for Superferry opponents to turn their attention to existing environmental threats of interisland transportation… HMD”

    Well, I won’t be, but maybe the Invasive Species Councils will.

  6. darkfred on July 12th, 2009 10:03 am

    Mauibrad, you never posted my comments and facts on your web site blog. Wonder why?
    Could it be that the facts on another HSC in confined waters (Alaska) refuted all the whale points you had? Those two HSC craft in alaska have been operating for years without one whale problem. they operate at the same speeds as HSF was going to . They operate in far more confining waters and see far more whales then will be seen off the islands.

  7. Luke on September 2nd, 2009 5:49 pm

    i never even got a chance to SEE or ride one of the ferries

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