USNS Puerto Rico (HST-2)
The Alakai docked in Nawiliwili Harbor
|Owner:||Hawaii Superferry (2007-2009)
U.S. Maritime Administration (2009-present)
|Operator:||Hawaii Superferry (2007-2009)
U.S. Maritime Administration (2009-present)
|Port of registry:||Honolulu, Hawaii, United States|
|Laid down:||June 3, 2004|
|Launched:||January 18, 2007|
|Christened:||April 14, 2007|
|Maiden voyage:||August, 2007|
|Length:||349 ft (106 m)|
|Beam:||78 ft (24 m)|
|Draft:||12 ft (3.7 m)|
|Deck clearance:||14 ft (4.3 m)|
|Installed power:||4 x MTU-8000 diesel engines|
|Propulsion:||4 x Rolls-Royce KaMeWa 125MkII waterjets|
|Speed:||35 kn (65 km/h; 40 mph)|
|Capacity:||866 passengers, 282 cars|
The USNS Puerto Rico (HST-2), (standing for High-Speed Transport), formerly named the Alakai is a vessel currently owned by the U.S. Maritime Administration. It was originally the Hawaii Superferry's first high-speed ferry. In the Hawaiian language, alakai means "sea path." It should not be confused with the similar word alakaʻi, which means "leader."
The design of the Spearhead-class Joint High Speed Vessel is 70 percent in common with the Hawaii Superferries, both built by Austal USA.
Alakai is a 349-foot (106 m) long high-speed roll-on / roll-off (Ro/Ro) passenger and vehicle ferry formerly operated by Hawaii Superferry. It used to operate a daily service at a speed of 35 knots (65 km/h) between the islands of Oahu and Maui. Alakai has a capacity of 866 passengers and up to 282 subcompact cars. Alternately, its vehicle decks can be reconfigured in 5 minutes to carry up to 20 large trucks and 90 cars.
Hawaii Superferry’s vessels are designed and built by Austal USA, a subsidiary of Austal, an Australian company that is the world's largest builder of fast ferries. Construction on the Alakai began in June 2004 in Mobile, Alabama. The ship was launched in January 2007, christened in April 2007 and sea trials went smoothly.
The Alakai arrived in Honolulu on June 30, 2007 with a celebration, after a smooth 17 day delivery voyage. The ship's maiden voyage was on August 26, 2007 and the trip to Maui was smooth. The voyage to Kauai was rougher and the Alakai was met by about a dozen protestors on surfboards blockading the entrance to Nawiliwili Harbor. The protestors were peacefully cleared by the Coast Guard.
2008 Dry Dock
On February 13, 2008 the Alakai went into dry dock to make repairs to its auxiliary rudders that were damaged in late January. The dry docking was extended due to hull damage caused when a tugboat moving the Alakai into dry dock lost power and collided heavily with the catamaran. Alakai returned to service in early April 2008 shortly after Aloha Airlines ended service. Before resuming service the ship went through sea trials and was re-certified by the Coast Guard.
2009 Shut Down
On March 17, 2009 after about 11 months in service, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the legislation permitting Alakai to operate without an environmental review was unconstitutional. Hawaii Superferry made one last round trip to allow an orderly return of passengers who are not on their home island. They canceled existing reservations and did not take new reservations. The Superferry company intended to look for other work for the Alakai; it had also left open the possibility of bringing the ferry back into service if and when Hawaii completed an environmental review, but the company decided to abandon the vessel ending all possibilities of returning to Hawaii.
- In January 2010, the U.S. Maritime Administration announced that Huakai and Alakai would be used to assist with relief in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
- On September 13, 2010, the Huakai and Alakai were auctioned off, for $25 million each, by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and they were reportedly purchased by the United States Maritime Administration.
- As of December 12, 2011, the Huakai and Alakai are being considered for purchase by the navy, under the Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
On January 27, 2012, The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has transferred two high speed vessels, the Huakai and the Alakai, to the U.S. Navy. The Navy plans to use the vessels to transport troops and equipment to training areas from Okinawa and other locations. These vessels will help the Navy meet these unique operational requirements without the need to build new vessels. Powered by waterjet engines, the catamarans can each carry 288 cars and 866 passengers.
In May 2012, The Navy has announced that both Alakai and Huakai have been renamed. The Alakai is now USNS Puerto Rico and the Huakai is now USNS Guam. Guam is being modified and will replace the chartered Westpac Express in Okinawa in March 2013. Puerto Rico will remain laid up until they work out what to use her for. 
On 19 August 2012, USNS Puerto Rico was towed from Norfolk to Philadelphia, presumably for modification.
- Hawaii Superferry
- Huakai/USNS Guam (HST-1)
- Spearhead-class Joint High Speed Vessel
- MV Westpac Express (HSV-4676)
- Image showing port of registry listed on stern of the ferry, Honolulu Advertiser, retrieved March 8, 2008
- Alakai Anatomy
- Hawaii Superferry - Eco-friendly Features
- Superferry!, 2007-07-01
- CDNN :: Alakai Superferry Speeding Towards Hawaii
- BYM Marine & Maritime News
- Superferry in drydock till April 22 - The Honolulu Advertiser - Hawaii's Newspaper
- Dicus, Howard (2009-07-01). "Hawaii Superferry abandons ship, and other bankruptcies in the news". KGMB9.com. Howzit Howard. Honolulu, HI, USA: KGMB9. Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
- Maritime Administration Prepares Five Ships For Duty, U.S. Department of Transportation, January 18, 2010
- Hawaii Superferry Alakai Becomes Sixth Merchant Ship Activated , U.S. Department of Transportation, January 20, 2010
- U.S. buys more high-speed vessels
- Defense Authorization Act funds transfer of ex-Superferries to Navy
- Navy Gets Two High Speed Vessels from Maritime Administration
- "Secretary of the Navy Names High Speed Ferries Guam and Puerto Rico – May 2012".
- Hawaii Superferry’s Bankruptcy = US Navy Opportunity -- Defense Industry Daily
- Alakai: Hawaii says aloha to fast ferry
- Tour of the Alakai