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Marine Jet Marlin Makes Last Journey

Date Posted: 2000-02-20

The super fast passenger ferry Marlin, that has been running a regular route between Naha and Ie Island, made its last regular trips on Tuesday, February 15th. Authorities recently concluded that there simply were not enough passengers for the operation to be profitable, as the Marlin was being crushed under a mountain of debt.

According to officials at the company that was running the marine jet, they had been able to fill only 20 percent of the ferry’s 230 seats on average. Marlin has accumulated a debt of ¥1.37 billion, and even support from the prefecture to the tune of ¥850 million could not save the operation at the end. Finally the partners of the venture, six municipalities of northern Okinawa, made a decision last February 2nd to stop the operation.

Ironically, the Marlin has run at near full capacity ever since the decision to close it down was made. On its last day of operation, people waited in lines to get onboard. But many of the customers during the last days of the route said that they had gotten promotional tickets free of charge from a local radio station and other sources. “I got free tickets for my whole family, and that’s why we are here,” a passenger waiting to go onboard with his wife and son said. If I had to buy the tickets myself, I don’t think I would have done it. It’s too expensive.” Many potential customers were obviously in agreement, that being the main reason for the demise of the venture. A round trip ticket to Ie Island cost ¥6,300 for adults.

The next decision the operators of Marlin have to make is what to do with their special ship that is now out of commission.

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