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Wednesday 17 July 2019
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Imbert: Galleons Passage to arrive by end of April

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said the new ferry Galleons Passage is scheduled to arrive by the end of April. He said the vessel was currently berthed at the port of Yokahama, Japan and was loading additional fuel tanks, stores and provisions for its trans-Pacific journey to Honolulu, Hawaii. It was scheduled to take on fuel on Thursday and also to depart Yokohama on that date.

“And barring inclement weather and other unforeseen conditions, the vessel is scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain at the end of April 2018. I wish to repeat, contrary to the fake news of the UNC, the vessel is safely in Japan and in perfect condition.”

He was responding to a question yesterday in Senate from Opposition Senator Wade Mark on the procurement method for the vessel, whether a needs analysis was done to determine whether it should have been bought or leased, and what were the terms and conditions of the purchase.

Imbert explained the original plan of a time charter or lease arrangement would have cost US$8.2 million per year and therefore it was more cost-effective to buy the vessel at 17.38 million. He pointed out in just two years $17 million would have been expended under lease arrangement without owning the asset.

“Consequently the obvious decision was to purchase the vessel.” He reported additional costs included: sailing of the vessel by international ship manager from China to this country at US$811,800; legal fees of US$25,000; inspection, US$27,165; valuation survey report, US$25,000; additional costs including sealing of a space between the ramp door and hull of the vessel, installing a canopy on the vehicle deck to protect against sea spray in stormy conditions, installing additional anchor rings for storing vehicles on vehicle deck, installing full canopies over the sun deck, installing and outfitting additional male and female washrooms on the sun deck, installing a café and bar facilities on the starboard and port sides of the sun deck at US$350,000.

Imbert said the cost of the vessel was US$17.38 million and with the US$900,000 to get the vessel here and the upgrades of US$350,000 led to a total cost of approximately US$17.63 million. In fact, these figures add up to US$18.63 million.

Government had two international valuations of the vessel, he said, and the higher one was US$19 million.

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