Most passengers on the cargo vessel MV Cabo Star, which altered its journey to Trinidad in answer to a distress call, were not mindful of the delay it caused because they were part of a search and rescue mission which is believed to have saved four crew members of a barge that sank off Grenada early yesterday morning.
Passengers said they were told that one crew member was reported missing and feared dead.
The Cabo Star set sail from Tobago at 11 pm on Wednesday night and arrived in Trinidad at 3 pm – 16 hours later.
Coming off the boat, passenger Shiva Singh of Claxton Bay told Newsday, “I am proud to be part of it because I believe the captain did something good.”
Singh said when the Cabo Star arrived on the scene, a small sail boat was nearby. They were later joined by another vessel.
Another passenger, David John of San Juan said the rescued men were taken to Grenada by what looked like a coast guard vessel.
The passengers, John said, were treated well by the Cabo Star crew which provided them with breakfast and lunch.
Meanwhile, awaiting the boat was Kyle St Hillaire who works with Carib Brewery. Driving out of the compound, he said, he would not have been able to load the truck and get it back on the boat in time last night. He had three trucks to load. Due to traffic and insufficient time, he said, the 6 pm departure time given by the Port Authority of TT (PATT) was insufficient.
Maurice Goddard of Plymouth, Tobago, who had flown over to do business, collected his car and would have had to leave it in Trinidad because he would not have been able to get it back on the MV Cabo Star last evening as he was scheduled to return by air.
On the wharf awaiting the arrival of the vessel were several truckers who said they were not perturbed about the cargo vessel going to the rescue.
Curtis Thom, a trucker for 15 years said, “Today we are not so upset because they went to save lives. Today we give the boat all rights.”
However, Thom and many of his colleagues were not satisfied about managers of the port not providing them with information when they asked. One man said it was by tracking the Cabo Star on their phones they discovered it was in Grenada.
This was compounded by rumours that it had broken down and was drifting. They said the port authority has to do better.
Meantime, the Cabo Star being used to ferry passengers and leaving truckers to travel by air was another issue.
The breakdown of the passenger vessel T&T Express on Monday morning, after coming from Tobago, added to their plight. They said priority was being given to passengers who were stranded on both islands.
“They telling us we have to catch a plane to accommodate the passengers and this is a cargo vessel. This is unfair to us,” one trucker said.
Yesterday, Tobago resident Amelia Adams arrived at Newsday’s Chacon Street, Port of Spain office in tears.
She said she arrived in Trinidad on Monday morning and was to return on the T&T Express that evening. She has been stranded since without money to buy an air ticket to get to Tobago, or accommodation.
She slept at the Port of Spain General Hospital for two nights and was put out by security guards on Wednesday night. A port employee, who took pity on her, allowed her to spend the night there.
She did not know how she will get by until the T&T Express returns to Tobago.
PATT chairman Alison Lewis told Newsday the T&T Express, which experienced some mechanical failures, has been repaired and is due to sail from today.
“We will put out an advisory so people will be aware of the time,” she said.