RELIEF and pride in equal portions filled the heart of Krystle Khan, wife of captain Alister Khan who on Monday returned to TT on the Galleons Passage from China.
She spoke to Newsday hours after the vessel had docked at the Port of Spain harbour at 11 pm on Monday, where she, her two daughters and mother-in-law had waited to welcome Khan with a home-made banner which read, “Welcome home, Dad.”
Asked how she felt on seeing the ferry arrive with her husband, Krystle said, “It was just relief I felt knowing he had got home safely.”
Newsday asked how the family had coped during the repeated delays in the vessel’s arrival to TT. She said the family closely supported each other during the wait.
“We were always there for each other. Like I said, safety had been the main concern, because they had various and numerous weather incidents facing them that they had to sail through. “So just knowing that they made it through those types of weather and waters...”
Did she feel pride in her husband’s accomplishment, bringing the vessel to TT in a voyage of thousands of miles?
Krystle replied, “Of course I do. He has been away for five and a half months, trying his best to organise for the boat to reach here as soon as possible.”
Asked if she had any special celebration lined up for her husband, Krystle replied, “Well maybe when everything dies down, then. But nothing until then.” She said Khan has many replies to give to questions. “You know, the media and work-wise the ministers. So eventually something will be put in place.” Khan himself was yesterday calm and unfazed at the length of the trip, in contrast to his wife’s clear relief that he was home.
He spoke to Newsday during yesterday’s media tour of the boat.
Asked how he was chosen to go to China, he said, “Maybe through experience. I don’t know. God is good.” Saying he is 40 years old, he said he had worked with Nidco since 2008 and has been a captain for 15 years. Asked how it had been to be away from his family for so long, he replied, “It’s something I’m accustomed to, as a sailor. From the age of 18, I started to sail. So this was a short voyage. But it was a nice experience. I haven’t done this for a long time. It wasn’t bad.”
Asked how the trip was, he said, “The trip was beautiful. It was beautiful.
“The weather will always have its ups and downs. You won’t have all good days only. But it was okay.” Asked to comment on the heated debate in TT surrounding the vessel’s delayed journey, he replied, “Honestly, I haven’t heard anything.” While Khan is a qualified ship captain, he did not physically captain the Galleons Passage – a task that fell to Lithuanian national, Valerij Rogac.
Built in China, the vessel was brought for US$17.4 million by Nidco from the Sea Transport Corporation of Australia and partially retrofitted in Cuba. While acquired to service the Trinidad-Tobago seabridge, the boat was subject of repeated delays, concerns about the process of its procurement and queries over whether it is fit for service.