TRANSPORT Minister Rohan Sinanan has described doubts about the safety of the Galleons Passage as “misinformation.”
He was speaking yesterday at the post-Cabinet media conference held at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s and responding to a media conference by Opposition Senators Wade Mark and Saddam Hosein on a report from Lloyd’s Register dated July 2018 listing almost 100 safety issues with the Galleons Passage.
Sinanan said he was happy to announce the arrival of the vessel but there had been misinformation put in the public domain to damage the vessel and put doubts in user’s minds about its safety. He said the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) has been working with different agencies to ensure that the vessel was compliant with all regulations and it would be certified by the Director of Maritime Services, the recognised person to certify the vessel in TT.
“No vessel will be put in service unless we have that full authorisation from the Director of Maritime Services.”
Sinanan said attempts to give the impression the vessel was not safe was “far from the truth.” He said there was also misinformation that the T&T Spirit was working at half capacity but it was at full capacity and on some days had in excess of 800 passengers.
“The big problem that I have is that there are certain people who are hell bent on ensuring that this vessel does not work and the seabridge does not function in the way that it was expected to.”
He said contrary to what was reported at the Opposition media conference the vessel has a flood alarm system and CCTV. Asked if the report was authentic Sinanan said several reports were requested before the vessel was put into service and the Maritime Division would ensure everything was certified.
He said he had full confidence in the Galleons Passage and will be there on the first sailing to Tobago.
Sinanan said with the other vessels there were experiences of people deliberately tampering with them and cloth and lemons found in the lines. He said Nidco had beefed up port security and would be installing CCTV cameras to prevent any acts of sabotage. He added some believed a collapsed seabridge would benefit them but it was not good for Trinidad or Tobago.
Communications Minister Stuart Young described the media conference as “complete political mischief” and the country was being flooded with fake news in the most unpatriotic manner. He said it was an irrefutable fact the vessel sailed from China to Japan, then to Hawaii and then to Mexico and then through the Panama Canal.
“At every single juncture the authorities in those states would have had to have given the vessel the go ahead to sail on the high seas.”
He recalled Mark said he did not know if the report was fake and questioned how any right thinking citizen could engage in such behaviour.
Asked about Mark’s claim he was having a Venezuelan newspaper article translated which stated the vessel was purchased for $9 million and not $17.4 million, Young said the Venezuelan Government was no way involved in the purchase but it was built in China by an Australian company and purchased from a private client in Venezuela.
“So I don’t know where Senator Mark gets his information.”