Cruise ship arrivals to affect Cabo Star sailings

The Cabo Star at the Cruise Ship terminal, Port of Spain.  - Ayanna Kinsale
The Cabo Star at the Cruise Ship terminal, Port of Spain. - Ayanna Kinsale

DISRUPTIONS to the schedule of the MV Cabo Star cargo vessel are expected over the next week.

Trinidad and Tobago Inter-Island Transportation Company CEO Vilma Lewis-Cockburn said on Sunday that the Cabo Star’s schedule will be adjusted to facilitate the cruise ship season

The cruise ship season began in November and will run through to April 2024, and the Cruise Ship Complex in Port of Spain and Port of Scarborough are expected to welcome a number of cruise ships bringing tens of thousands of visitors.

The Cabo Star is allowed to dock at the Cruise Ship Complex, but with 17 cruise ship arrivals to Port of Spain in December, the cargo vessel would have to anchor elsewhere.

The cruise ship season is an exciting and important time, especially for Tobago, as it generates millions in foreign revenue and creates as well as sustains many jobs in the tourist and service sectors.

Head of the Tobago arm of the Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce, Demi John Cruickshank. -

Lewis-Cockburn said the authorities will work closely with Tobago’s business community to come up with workable solutions to ensure there is no major shortage of food and other important supplies on the island.

She remains optimistic that the transportation of cargo will not be drastically affected since the Galleons Passage ferry is capable of filling the gap if the need arises. She said there will also be additional sailings of the Galleons Passage to cushion any impact.

Demi John Cruickshank, head of the Tobago arm of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said the chamber was made aware of the situation prior to the cruise season.

"We all were informed. Most of the businesses knew in advance," he said.

"We know it would have some interruptions especially in December as we have about 17 days where the ship would be in the harbour. We have been trying to stock up as much as we can. We're hoping the days that the vessel do sail, we would pull as much goods to Tobago within that space of time."

A fire aboard the Cabo Star on August 23 earlier this year forced the vessel to be pulled from the seabridge for repairs. To mitigate the impact of the vessel's downtime, a smaller Venezuelan vessel, the Emprendedora, was brought in.

The Cabo Star was eventually repaired and resumed sailing on September 21.

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