“WE want a fast ferry, not a donkey.”
This was one of the comments made by one of several people looking through the fence at the Scarborough Port on Saturday, as the Galleons Passage docked during its final test run ahead of its first commercial sailing this morning. The boat is scheduled to leave Port of Spain at 6am. However, reports are that only 30 seats were sold up to late yesterday although the ferry can accommodate 700 people.
On Saturday, many Tobagonians didn’t seem excited to see the vessel as its ramp was lowered at 12.23pm after its departure from Port of Spain at 7.33 am.
The ship took 20 minutes to completely dock at Scarborough before further inspections on the ramp was done by crew members and other port officials.
During its first test run to Tobago on September 1, the vessel encountered problems docking as the bow ramp was too high to reach the Scarborough port berthing area. On September 15 at the second trial, the vessel was able to dock using its stern ramp and a stationed ramp, but there were some “tweaking” which was still needed, Herbert George, chairman of the National Infrastructure Development Company told the media.
Eric Castillo said, as he look at the vessel dock on Saturday, “That’s a nice boat to run from Store Bay to Crown Point. I am not excited about it, it’s a waste of time. Look how long it’s taking to line up to dock. I’m not going on that, next thing that get difficulties out in sea and you realise the Coast Guard in Tobago not equipped with any big vessel to come to our aid.”
Another observer, when asked if he will be using the new ferry said, “No I don’t travel on boat at all. Imagine when that takes vehicles and passengers and its out in those rough waters. I don’t want that boat for us here. Whoever in Trinidad buy that let them use that there. Look how the boat rocking and the water clam, that’s the first problem.”
Retiree Sean Thompson shook his head in disappointment.
“Where the cargo boat will park when we have this vessel here? Why they don’t put the ramp in a more neutral spot where it could remain so every time the cargo is coming we don’t have to organise to move the ramp. Business in Tobago survives with the cargo boat that brings goods and services to our people. We need the cargo boat to get priority to dock, not that old boat.”