Superferry barges, docks head to the auction block next week

The opening bid is $250,000

Published  7:34 PM HST Jul 09, 2013
HONOLULU -

Call it the final insult on a costly state boondoggle.

The final pieces of Hawaii's Superferry -- the barges and docks -- will go on the  auction block next week.

The Hawaii Superferry began sailing from Honolulu to Maui and Kauai in 2007, but it would be a short lived and stormy voyage.

The final blow came in March 2009 when the Hawaii Supreme Court required the state to do an environmental impact statement before the ferry could operate.

The Superferry shut down and its parent company sunk into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The three barges and the ramps that loaded people and vehicles now sit in Honolulu Harbor near  the longliners taking up more than 1,000 feet of needed dock space.

Rosen Auctions and the State Department of Transportation will sell the barges, ramps and miscellaneous equipment in an Ebay-type online auction, beginning July 16 and ending at noon on July 25.

Steve Rosen of Rosen Auctions says there is interest from both coasts, the Gulf and locally.

But there is a potential problem: The hulls were not made in the U.S.

State officials and maritime lawyers say because of that, under the Jones Act, the barges are not compliant for transporting merchandise between U.S. ports.

That means they'd probably have to be stationary, used in construction or used for scrap

In the end, it could be a staggering money-loser. Everything up for auction costs  $40 million new.

The opening bid is $250,000.

Time is is of the essence because the vessels have to be on the water going somewhere by Sept. 1 or risk facing adverse weather.

Where the barges end up remains to be seen.

The Superferry vessels themselves were auctioned off and are now used by the the U.S. Navy.

The Huakai and Alakai are now named the USNS Puerto Rico and USNS Guam.

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