HONOLULU — The Hawaii Superferry has delayed what had been a scheduled July launch by at least a month as it goes through extensive inspections, its company said.
The ferry, a four-story catamaran built in Mobile, Ala., is expected to start service sometime later this summer.
The ferry must complete a rigorous U.S. Coast Guard certification and inspection process, said Superferry President and Chief Executive John Garibaldi. This is the first ship of its kind built by Austal USA. A second ship is planned, also for Hawaii inter-island service.
"The Coast Guard, Austal and Hawaii Superferry want to ensure that the vessel, its machinery and equipment, as well as its safety systems and plans, are thoroughly inspected and reviewed," Garibaldi said.
Spokeswoman Lori Abe said the company was continuing preparations for the ferry's arrival from Mobile, including the hiring of about 200 people.
The ferry is to offer service from Oahu to Maui and Kauai. Trips to the Big Island won't begin until 2009, when construction of the second ferry is completed.
A regular off-peak adult fare is $52 one way, and cars ship for $59, according to the Superferry website (www.hawaiisuperferry .com). The ferries can carry 866 passengers and 282 cars.
The first ferry, the Alakai, is to travel from Mobile through the Panama Canal, refuel in Los Angeles and head for Hawaii.