National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) is currently evaluating tenders for a ‘charter vessel’ for the sea bridge to assist the Galleon’s Passage and T&T Spirit.
So said Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan, speaking at last Friday’s post Cabinet media briefing at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf resort in Lowlands.
Contending that the sea bridge has gone through its worst period, he said he was looking forward to improvements.
“It has been recognised that earlier this week, we did have some challenges for a couple days with the T&T Spirit. I’m happy to announce that my information is that the Spirit is back up and running with an increased capacity of 865 passengers. The service is back up to three vessels,” he said. The T&T Spirit was expected to return to service on the sea bridge on Friday afternoon after being down with “mechanical” problems since Monday. The Galleons Passage was the lobe passenger vessel on the route for this time, with the cargo ferry, the Cabo Star, also being used to transport passengers as well as cargo.
On the third passenger vessel, Sinanan said this was “a charter vessel to assist us with the two vessels we have; the Galleon’s Passage and the T&T Spirit.
“That tender has closed and NIDCO is in the process of evaluating that tender as we speak so it is expected that shortly, we would have three passenger vessels. What that would do, it would give us the opportunity to have two vessels operating at all times, so in an event where similar to what happened earlier (last) this week, where we had to take the Spirit out and use just the Galleon’s Passage, we would not be in that position. At all times, we would have two vessels with the third vessel to be used if and when required,” he said.
Sinanan also said plans were on track to acquire two new custom built passenger vessels expected in 2020.
“I’m happy to report that the plans are on track for those vessels to arrive here sometime in 2020, everything is in place and the suppliers have given us the assurance that everything is on track for those two vessels,” he said.
As regards a cargo vessel, Sinanan said that NIDCO was searching for a more suitable vessel, and until such a vessel was found, the Cabo Star would remain in service.
“My information is that the trip is now five and a half hours, with about a 50 to 60 per cent capacity. It means that we still have about 50 per cent space on the cargo vessel and until such time that a more suitable cargo vessel is found, then we continue to engage the Cabo Star,” he said.