THE Galleons Passage made it through the Panama Canal yesterday and began heading for Santiago de Cuba, but with heavy rainclouds hanging over it and fears that it might get caught smack bang in the middle of a developing storm in the Caribbean Sea.
Satellite tracking saw the boat at 6.30 am yesterday exiting the canal, then moving along the coast of Cacique, Colombia. It will sail for the next four days to get to Santiago, on the southeastern coast of Cuba.
However, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) posted a bulletin yesterday about a tropical cyclone formation over Florida which could affect the southeast of Cuba with heavy rains and strong winds, resulting in rough seas by the weekend.
The Galleons Passage, bought by the TT government from China for US$17.4 million to service the seabridge between Trinidad and Tobago, is cutting close to the impending thunderstorm. It is aiming to reach its destination before Saturday or Sunday, when the rough weather is expected. It is travelling at between 11 and 12 knots.
The forecast for the weather pattern over the Caribbean sea and closer to the Galleons Passage’s path, according to the NHC, based in Miami, is severe thunderstorms and a cyclone for Friday and until Sunday respectively.
The Meteorological Office at Piarco confirmed the pattern of what is described as “bad weather” when the Galleons Passage passes between Jamaica and Haiti en route to Santiago de Cuba. However, it said there was a likelihood of the wind blowing northwards and the boat is likely to avoid most of the weather systems.
The Galleons Passage, which is manned by an crew from the Ukraine, is expected to arrive in Santiago de Cuba by Saturday afternoon.