** FILE ** A surfer catches a wave at Kakaako Waterfront Park as the Hawaii Superferry approaches Aloha Towers on June 30, 2007, in Honolulu. The $100 million Hawaii Superferry _ the first passenger ferry between the islands _ is making its maiden run with a rushed launch to Maui on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007. Legal problems could quickly beach the giant catamaran like one of the whales that environmentalists fear it will run over. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Hawaii Superferry's second catamaran is
nearing completion in Mobile. Ala.
The new vessel destined to link Honolulu and the Big Island next year left Austal USA's ship shed on the Mobile River into floating dry dock Monday.
Austal President Joe Rella called the launch "ahead of schedule and on budget."
The vessel, which has not yet been named, will head back to Austal for final work before sea trials begin later this year.
Austal reports it is ahead of schedule on its contracted March delivery date, and on budget for "the largest aluminum catamaran vessel delivered in the U.S."
The vessel is about 20 feet longer than the 350-foot Alakai because of a stern ramp added for military use.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)