Four Vessels to Support Neighbor Island Emergency Operations

June 18, 2020, 1:21 PM HST · Updated June 18, 1:21 PM
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Ke Aliʻi O Ke Kai is a 29-feet long vessel and will be stationed in Kahului. The Ke Aliʻi O Ke Kai will also serve Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokaʻi and Kaumalapau Harbor on Lānaʻi.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Harbors Division is placing four new Security and Disaster Recovery vessels into service in time for the ongoing 2020 Central Pacific hurricane season.

The Security and Disaster Recovery vessels will be ported at Hilo, Kawaihae, Nāwiliwili, and Kahului Harbors and can support emergency operations at Port Allen, Kaunakakai, and Kaumalapau Harbors.

“After a hurricane, tsunami, or earthquake, one of the first steps in getting our commercial harbors back up and running to support the delivery of needed supplies is underwater surveys to make sure there are no obstructions that could cause damage to the ships and barges that make our State’s hub and spoke system possible,” said Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay. “These vessels will enable us to do the surveys quickly and accurately.”

The four aluminum monohulled vessels were designed in collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers and come equipped with portable side scan sonar for the assessments. The total cost for the vessels was $1.4 million, which was paid for through the Harbors Special funds supported by tariffs and fees from the movement of cargo.

“Delivery of the Kuleana, Kokua, Kalewa, and the Ke Aliʻi O Ke Kai improves our emergency operations capabilities significantly,” said Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Harbors Derek Chow. “Although we hope we won’t need to use them this hurricane season, it’s important to us to have the tools to ensure our commercial harbors can support safe navigation and the mooring of vessels post disaster.”

The security and disaster recovery vessels include the following:

  • Kuleana is a 27-foot long vessel will be home ported in Hilo.
  • Kōkua is a 27-foot long vessel will be stationed in Kawaihae.
  • Kalewa is a 27-foot long vessel will have Nāwiliwili as its home port but will also support operations at Port Allen Harbor.
  • Ke Aliʻi O Ke Kai is a 29-feet long vessel and will be stationed in Kahului. The Ke Aliʻi O Ke Kai will also serve Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokaʻi and Kaumalapau Harbor on Lānaʻi.

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