“BE patient” was the advice of Port Authority chairman Lyle Alexander when contacted on the status of the Jean de La Vallette. Alexander was unable to say if the newly-leased fast ferry will be ready to make its maiden voyage to Tobago next week.
The vessel arrived on June 19, and during a media tour on June 28, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan said it would be ready to sail within two weeks. Sinanan said certification has been completed, the local staff were being familiarised with the vessel and the first commercial sailing was expected to be July 15.
Nearly two weeks later, on Wednesday Alexander said he could not say if the vessel will be ready, as there are still a few things to complete.
“I’m not going to give any guesstimate at this stage. There are certain things that need to be done and my suggestion is we allow these things to be done before putting dates on things. There are things over which we have no control, so as a result we have to let these things finish. Let’s just be patient."
On what remained to be done, he said, "There is ongoing work on the ramps, there is ongoing dredging and things of that nature. Those things must be completed before the vessel can be properly berthed to sail.”
Alexander added that he was unable to say how long these tasks would take.
The vessel is being leased for 34,500 Euros or $263,580 per day. It will accommodate over 800 passengers and 230 vehicles and will complement the TT Spirit and the Galleons Passage, which are already in service along with the cargo vessel Cabo Star.