Hawaii Superferry said Monday that it will cease operations in light of a state Supreme Court ruling that it was unfairly allowed to bypass an environmental review. The Superferry has been under fire from critics who argue its use could harm whales and damage marine life.
In 2005, the State declared the Superferry exempt from such a review, but it was later ruled that an environmental study was needed before the vessel could operate. Later in 2007, a special law was passed stating that the Superferry could run while an environmental assessment was drafted. It was this special law, called Act 2, that on Monday was argued unconstitutional and sent the case back to Circuit Court, forcing the Superferry to cease operations.
Hawaii Superferry offered the following statement on their website:
Obviously we are hugely disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision that Act 2 is unconstitutional. We have operated on a regular, reliable and responsible basis for the past 11 months. During this time over 250,000 people have booked travel on Alakai and it has provided new economic opportunities for Hawaii’s businesses.
While the appeal is not yet final because a judgment on appeal has not been entered, we want to proceed prudently and have decided to cease operations for the present.
Our first priority is to take care of our customers, both those who have recently traveled and need to return to either Oahu or Maui and those who have future bookings. We will make one additional round trip to get vehicles back to their homes this Thursday.