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Wednesday 22 May 2019
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TT Spirit goes ghost on seabridge

File photo: TT Spirit making approaching Port of Spain Ferry Terminal.
File photo: TT Spirit making approaching Port of Spain Ferry Terminal.

THE mechanical problems which led to the cancellation of Monday’s sailing of the TT Spirit and saw it pulled from the seabridge indefinitely have left Tobagonians feeling deja vu and disappointment.

The ferry was scheduled to leave Trinidad at 4pm on Monday but never left, and passengers had to rush to change their tickets.

The TT Inter-Island Transportation (TTIT) Co confirmed in a press release that there was an issue with the vessel, noting that the 6.30 am sailing from Tobago yesterday was also cancelled. It said the next sailing of the TT Spirit was scheduled for yesterday at 4pm from Port of Spain. However, a note on TTIT’s Facebook page told passengers that sailing had also been cancelled.

Chairman of the Port Authority, Lyle Alexander, told Newsday yesterday the ferry is “out of commission indefinitely due to mechanical issues” as parts from Germany were being awaited to do the repairs. He said the parts should arrive by today and is hoping for a speedy resolution.

Alexander’s optimism was not shared by THA minority councillor Dr Faith B Yisrael, who reiterated TT does not have a functioning inter-island transport system.

“I am almost annoyed that at this point we are still speaking about this,” she said. “It is time for Tobagonians to stand up.

“We remember we were here. We were at this very spot over a year ago talking about this very thing, and the PNM who are in charge of Tobago joked about the fact that there was the young man (livestock farmer complaining about ferry woes) with the goat right here at James Park, and years later we are still here.

President of the Tobago Unique Bed and Breakfast Self Catering Association Kaye Trotman labelled the situation a disappointment for the tourism sector.

“Will our boat woes ever be completely solved? It is yet to be seen. We were hoping with the Galleons Passage, and you had two vessels, we would hopefully see some turnaround in this quarter with some reliable sailing schedule.” Instead, Trotman added, “If it is that we have gone back to one boat, as it seems – and we’re probably likely to be there for a little while if the part has to be sourced from Germany – the impact on the sector would not be as we were hoping to experience this quarter.

“It’s another disappointment to the sector.”

She believes the Galleons Passage will not be able to service seabridge commuters operating on its own.

“I am not sure the one Galleons Passage, with the (sailing) timing that it has, would be sufficient to build back the confidence (of) the public and deal with the turnaround in the domestic area.”

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