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Monday 20 August 2018
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Spirit in smooth groove for Tobago

T&T Express at sea on June 17, 2017. The ferry remains in dry dock. FILE PHOTO

The T&T Spirit, back on the inter-island sea bridge, made a seamless voyage from Port-of-Spain to Scarborough on Friday.

Filled to capacity, the vessel left the Port of Spain docks shortly after 4 pm and arrived in Tobago three hours later.

Passengers, many of whom were jazz enthusiasts, said they were very pleased with the vessel’s performance on the sailing.

“The water was just rough at some points but I think it did well,” one woman said.

Another female passenger said she was grateful there were no further hiccups.

“I was happy that nothing came between me and my jazz. I had already made up my mind to swim like (Watson) Duke,” she joked.

Duke, political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots, had attempted a swim from Tobago to Trinidad some months ago to protest the difficulties which Tobagonians were experiencing because of the non-operation of the T&T Express and T&T Spirit on the sea bridge. The T&T Express is on drydock.

The T&T Spirit’s sailing on Friday came as the Opposition debated a motion of no-confidence in Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan in the Parliament over his handling of the inter-island sea bridge within recent months.

The T&T Spirit, which has a capacity to seat 840 passengers, returned to the sea bridge just over one week ago after experiencing several mechanical problems.

Sunday Newsday understands the vessel also enjoyed a hiccup-free sailing, yesterday, from Scarborough to Port of Spain.

Contacted for comment, Sinanan said the vessel was was working perfectly.

“Give and take, it is a mechanical vessel and from time to time, you will have mechanical challenges,” he said.

Sinanan said the vessel came through dry-docking and got a five-year certification.

“That does not mean that from time to time, you would not have a line that may burst or a seal that may give up. A brand new boat, things like that happens to, a brand new car, things like that happens to. But the boat has been refurbished and that is what you have a maintenance crew on the vessel fully equipped, because you are expecting for things to come up.”

The minister dismissed as “nonsense,” people who persist in complaining about the vessel.

“Some people feel there is a delay because it is leaking. This is a vessel out in the ocean. Unless everything g is not checked and re-checked the vessel cannot leave. This is not a car where you can take the chance and if you shut down, you could pull aside.”

Sinanan said some people simply want to ensure the sea bridge is never rectified.

“And that is why they are upset now because the sea bridge has no problems again. It may not be as perfect as we want it but we are getting there.”

Asked about the Opposition’s motion against him in the Parliament, Sinanan declared: “In my opinion, it fell flat because they said nothing that did not go through the Joint Select Committee, that exonerated the minister from any wrongdoing.”

“Some people just want to ensure that the sea bridge is never rectified,” he said.

 

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