December 28th 2016

The officers and crew of the MV MOKU PAHU received a moving send-off when the final load of sugar from Maui left Kahului Harbor earlier this month.

The departure of the MOKU PAHU–proudly crewed over the course of decades by MM&P licensed deck officers–marked the end of the era of sugar in the islands.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company began operations on Maui more than 140 years ago.

Over time, the operation grew into Hawaii’s largest farm, with 36,000 acres under cultivation.

In early 2016, parent company Alexander & Baldwin announced that the sugar plantation would transition to a new, diversified agriculture model, with sugar operations ceasing at the end of the year.

Longshore workers, harbor and dock personnel, tug captains, truck drivers, sugar refinery workers and even paddle boarders joined to salute the MOKU PAHU on Dec. 16 as she left on her final run.

“My heart swelled with pride and joy, and I am not too proud to admit that my eyes grew watery as we backed away from the berth and the entire harbor came to a stop to line up and salute the PAHU as she made her final departure out of the harbor,” wrote Captain Louis Terramorse Jr. and Chief Mate Robert Abbott in a letter to those who helped to fuel the ship, offload sugar and deliver food and other supplies over the years.

Also aboard the vessel on its final sugar run were Second Mate Kevin McCowan and Third Mate Daniel Baldi.

“I have been sailing now for 26 years and over 20 have been proudly served on board this Mighty MOKU PAHU as a part of the proud Hawaiian sugar trade,” Terramorse wrote.

“I have heard of a 21-gun salute but that was the first time I ever experienced a 21-horn and whistle salute. To see everyone on the dock and anywhere in the harbor just standing and seeing us off with all the drivers lined up in their vehicles blaring their horns…”

“My crew was honored and we all know this will be an event in our lives that we will never forget.”