THE new ferry Galleons Passage is now about 13 days late on its way to TT, owing to factors including unforeseeable bad weather, Acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert has said.
He told yesterday’s post-Cabinet news briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, “The stopover in Hawaii took 12 days instead of two because of inspections by the US authorities and other issues at the port. So we lost ten days in Hawaii.”
Imbert said the vessel is now heading to Mexico, then Panama, Santiago de Cuba and Port of Spain.
“Coming out of Hawaii, the weather was not of the best going towards Mexico. So the captain, very wisely in my opinion, decided to slow it down a bit and reduce the operating speed of the vessel to five or six knots rather than the 11 knots which is part of the approved journey plan, just to make sure the vessel is intact and safe and not damaged in heavy seas and heavy wind conditions and so on.”
He said as of last night, improved weather had led to the ferry now travelling at 11 knots.
“So there was a delay. I’d say ten days in Hawaii, and maybe two or three days on the way to Mexico. About two weeks’ delay at this time.
“But these are not things you foresee.” He said the US authorities had opted to do a complete inspection, just as had also earlier happened when the vessel had reached Japan. “One of the issues is the presence of fuel containers on the deck, because this boat is travelling 3,000 miles.” He said the US authorities opted to inspect these portable fuel tanks.
“These are things you don’t plan for but happen as you go along.
“It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the vessel. The vessel is in perfect condition. It is just that they were delayed in Hawaii for ten days because of unforeseen inspections, and they have delayed themselves by a couple days on the way to Mexico because of weather conditions and they just want to be safe. Better to be safe than sorry.”
He said NIDCO has engaged the international ship manager and is in charge of the vessel’s arrival.