San Francisco

Did Anyone Else Notice the Horizon Spirit Cargo Ship That Was Here Too Long?

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Photo Credit: Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Photo

Nothing was weird about the Pasha Hawaii freighter docked at Pier 30 as far as I could tell. Nothing, except that it stayed there for months, and that seemed odd. This isn’t the kind of thing you notice right away. Gradually, it enters you consciousness. That boat’s still here. Still here. Still here.

If you were walking along the water, or if you came into SF on the 280 N and drove up the Embarcadero, or if you were just in the neighborhood… you may have noticed it too.

It didn’t seem odd that the ship was there through the winter, but as spring started to come in… Look, I’m no longshoreman, but don’t cargo ships have places they need to be? Why was it still there?

The boat would work its way into conversations with the SO and roommates, innocuous small chat, like it was part of the weather. Gems like:

“That boat’s still there.”



“I’ve always thought it would be cool to travel somewhere on a cargo ship.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“It’s fun to think about, but I don’t think I’d ever actually do it. Because, you know, too scared of being stuck somewhere with people I don’t know… but other than that…”


“Do you think they’re filming a movie?”

I couldn’t tell you exactly why I thought there might be a film crew making secret use of the ship. That boat was there a long time. I walked past it a lot. There was plenty of time to think of dumb, unreasonable theories about why it was still there, still covered in cargo containers.
It felt like a mystery, but only because I knew so little about it. Mysteries, kids, are exciting. Knowing stuff is not exciting.

My friend Tyler brought up the Pasha Hawaii on Facebook, and it was the first time I realized that me and my roommates might not be the only ones getting invested in the story of this stupid boat. Tyler was looking for answers, though. Props to Tyler. Through the powers of social media and the shipping records that were there all along, here is what we know about the cargo ship:

According to the records, this Pasha Hawaii freighter arrived at Pier 30/32 on December 20, 2016. The actual name of the ship is Horizon Spirit, but I can’t help thinking of it as the “PASHA HAWAII” since those were the two big words emblazoned on the side facing the street. It had some short stacks of cargo containers on its deck and you could see its tower from a few blocks away if you were heading East on Brannon.

There’s conjecture that this cargo ship was laid up as Pier 80 further south was prepared to be a new Pasha detailing center. Pasha imports cars and distributes them to dealerships. Or it’s possible the ship was simply not needed for during the time it was idle. This isn’t exciting or even interesting.

As of Tuesday April 19, 2017, the Pasha Hawaii is gone! But this isn’t a mystery. Tyler put it best: “It’s on its way to Oakland, like everyone else who’s cool.” And from there, on its way to LA, leaving a cargo ship shaped hole in our hearts.

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Lisa Martin

Lisa Martin

Lisa Martin is a SF based writer, cocktail lush, short story enthusiast, reluctant bicyclist, and all-around lazy-time kind of gal.


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  3. No_Diggity
    June 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    It was a mechanical failure that stranded the ship here for so long. Needed serious engine work.