There's a new vessel on guard at Honolulu Harbor.
A high-tech patrol boat launched Wednesday morning, offering more police protection in waters from Honolulu to Kalaeloa.
Kia'iawa, or "harbor guardian," is an appropriate name for newest member of the Harbor Police flotilla.
The brand new, 27-foot aluminum hulled boat replaces the 21-foot Boston whaler that guarded Honolulu Harbor for 15 years. That boat did a fine job and will now serve a back-up role.
But during the last tsunami warning and the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference, the need for a larger, all-weather boat was realized.
"[Kia'iawa] is more maneuverable, has modern equipment including better sonar, radar, and provide our officers with fully enclosed cabin to work in bad weather or rough seas, and assist with vessel control as we experienced during the tsunami evacuation and the return of our vessels back into the harbor," Honolulu Harbors Division Administrator Davis Yogi said.
The new vessel also is designed to work in conjunction with the Harbor Police personal watercraft, which can get in close to inspect vessels for illegal activity or drugs.
"As you all know, Hawaii's remote location in the Pacific makes our economy more dependent on outside shipping sources than most other states. We import 80 percent of all our goods and materials we need for daily life. And 98 percent of that total enters our state through our commercial harbors. The security of our harbor facilities, therefore, it's critical to our cost of living, our state economy, and ultimately, each of our daily lives," Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto said.
To any bad guys out there, watch out because this boat has speed.
The boat, which was originally built in Louisiana, has two 300-horsepower engines can push the boat past 50 miles per hour.
The vessel covers waters from Honolulu to Ewa, while other boats cover the windward and north side of the island.
The new vessel cost about $390,000 and was completely covered by a grant from the federal government.
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