THE Jean de la Valette ferry sailed into Trinidad waters this morning, docking at the Port in Port of Spain just after 8 am, five days ahead of schedule.
According to a release from the National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) dated June 14, the Jean de la Valette left Cadiz, Spain at 8 am last Friday and was estimated to arrive at the port in Port of Spain within ten days, with one bunkering stop in Cape Verde, Africa.
After the vessel docked, an inspection was done by Customs and Excise, and Immigration officials for clearance.
The process of acquiring relevant approvals and training of local staff as required for the vessel’s operation in the inter-island service between Trinidad and Tobago is now expected to start.
Port general manager Vilma Lewis Cockburn, who was present at the docking remarked: “It looks really nice and clean.”
The nine-year-old Maltese ferry will cost Government approximately TT$271,014 ($35,500 euros) per day to lease, and will serve as an inter-island ferry for about a year until two new ferries arrive in Trinidad mid-2020.
Those two fast ferries, as well as two patrol vessels will be coming from Australian shipbuilders Austal and INCAT.
The Jean de La Valette is a high-speed catamaran ferry owned and operated by Virtu Ferries. It was built by Austal in 2010, and is one of the largest vessels of its kind in the world. It operated routes from Malta to Pozzallo and Catania in Sicily, serving as a link between Malta and the rest of Europe.
The vessel could accommodate 24 crew members and 800 passengers. It has two decks, and each includes some outdoor seating. A separate first class area includes lounges and several other amenities. The vessel has a capacity of 230 cars, or 342 truck lane metres and 45 cars. A stern ramp and a port-side ramp allow vehicles to be loaded and unloaded.