Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 8th 2017 Contents Those discussions included
town meetings and, as a re-
sult, "Bay Ferries developed a
detailed plan of transition in
2013," according to McDonald.
Under the plan, "Bay Ferries
had a certain number of deliverables and the
Port Authority had a number of deliverables
on their side. The Port Authority had to put
in place people and a structure to be able to
operate the ferries. Not only were we providing
the information and systems for the transition,
but there had to be a recognised entity to take
it and build on it."
But he said that in the year to two years that
followed the agreement in 2013, "the Port Au-
thority was unable to put in place systems and
people to receive the transition. We know we
discharged our transition obligations but on the
Port Authority side, the systems and personnel
were not in place."
In 2015, he said a further agreement was
signed to complete the transition, which
according to him "had stopped by late 2014-
With that agreement signed he said "over
the course of 2015-2016 the port developed
some kind of plan for transition. At that point
it was not clear to our company how this was
going to unfold."
As a result, he said, "We said we will make
our people available to the port. We set up a
mechanism after discussion with the port and
told personnel working with us if they wanted
to work with the port they can do so."
A report submitted to the general manager of
the port in December last year confirmed that
"two ex-Bay Ferries senior night maintenance
engineers are currently engaged at the port."
McDonald said there was a stark difference
in operations between 2013 and 2015.
"In 2013, the company was working collab-
oratively with the port to develop a plan for
transition. In 2015, it was the port operating
on its own. All we could do was to provide the
documentation and the people."
Ultimately, he said, in 2016, "the port on
its own hired a company, Magellan Maritime
Services Ltd, to assist in achieving the tran-
sition. We did not play a role in the selection
of the company and we were not asked to play
a role in how that transition would unfold."
From McDonald's account of events: "At one
stage in the summer of 2016 we were asked
to stay on to assist with the transition. Our
company provided a series of options to the
port which would have enabled us to stay on
to assist. None of the options were taken on."
While he did not reveal all the options of-
fered, he said one of them was for Bay Ferries
to stay on as a consultant, "but we made it
clear we would only stay on if the port wanted
us to stay on."
McDonald said a decision was taken by the
Port Authority "not to pursue any of the op-
tions," adding that they would have to explain
why such a decision was taken.
It was for this reason he said the company
left at the end of its contract on September
McDonald insisted allegations that Bay Fer-
ries deleted all the data for the maintenance
of the vessels before leaving and took all the
documentation with them, were just "not true."
"We handed the Port Authority a document
and the data was left on the ships. It is on the
system software." He said the port had to get
its own "software licence and training which
McDonald said he was not aware of the acts
of sabotage referred to in a report to the general
manager from the manager of the Fast Ferries
Michelle Scipio-Hosang in December 2016,
which spoke of several areas of sabotage in-
cluding salt-water contamination of fuel on
the T&T Express, closure of the valves to the
sewage pump causing a new pump to burn
out, steering problems caused by the closure
of valves on the steering system and foreign
bolts found in the cylinder head on the T&T
"I am not aware of those allegations. We
know when we were responsible for the ships
they were maintained to international stand-
ards. What happened after September 30 2016,
we cannot speak to.
"During our time the service was reliable
and predictable. We were very proud of how
the ships performed and took care to maintain
Asked why the vessels are experiencing the
current problems he said: "Beyond reading
about it in the newspapers I don't know so I
"The main engines have a very rigid main-
tenance schedule, at different intervals of run-
ning hours different things have to be done.
After we stepped aside on September 30, last
year, whether the maintenance schedule was
being followed we do not know."
Major maintenance of the T&T Express, he
said, was scheduled for the fall of 2016.
"We spoke to the port time and again to
order parts for maintenance, but they chose
not to do it."
According to McDonald, major maintenance
work was due to be done on the T&T Spirit in
the spring of this year, but again he did not
know what transpired.
Ferreira: It's a shame
Former commissioner of the Port Author-
ity Ferdie Ferreira said it was a "shame that
after 12 years of Bay Ferries, the port seemed
to have gotten nothing out of the contract and
no proper transition was done."
"We virtually allowed Bay Ferries to own the
two vessels even though they were the property
of the port."
Ferreira recalled when the board on which he
sat took office "we were looking at the contract
which was coming up for renewal in 2015 and
I asked what are we paying these people all
this money for."
Ferreira said a recommendation was made
not to renew the contract "and the Prime Min-
ister supported us. We then gave Magellan the
But he said Magellan "wrote to the board
expressing concern that they were unable to
get information from Bay Ferries."
Ferreira recalled seeing a letter which Bay
Ferries wrote to the former government com-
plaining about payment of the operational
cost. The letter stated: "Under our contract
arrangement with the Port Authority, our in-
voices which cover many of the costs of our
daily operations are due and payable one month
after they are rendered. We have always had
great challenge in securing these payments."
Ferriera said Bay Ferries had even threatened
to "suspend the service if any of the operating
and management invoices remained overdue
by more than 30 days."
The former commissioner, who worked as
a marine superintendent at the port for many
years, said he became known as "Mr Bay Fer-
ries," because he led the charge to end the Bay
Annisette: Never again
President of the Seamen and Waterfront
Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) Michael An-
nisette said: "Bay Ferries always had internal
and external people batting for them. It was
always their intention to make it look like locals
could not do the job, and then we would have
no choice but to bring them back."
Annisette said from where he sat "there was
no proper and professional handover and Bay
Ferries was uncooperative with the Port Au-
thority before they left."
As the union representing workers on the
port, he said he was also aware that no data
or material was passed from Bay Ferries to the
port. He felt "it was important for them (Bay
Ferries) to delete the information so that we
would remain dependent on them."
He said: "We must never make that mistake
again in life. The company was here for almost
12 years and they owned all the documenta-
tion, but they refused to cooperate with the
transition team and kept all the information
Lewis: Poor negotiation
Port chairman Alison Lewis said her posi-
tion is "that whole situation with Bay Ferries
comes down to the fact that we did not nego-
Lewis said it is clear that in negotiating con-
tracts "we need people who could negotiate.
People who are versed and know the subject
area, when we negotiate certain clauses and
we don't put the necessary infrastructure in
place to capitalise on that, we do ourselves a
At the time when the Business Guardian
spoke with Lewis she had not seen an exit
report on Bay Ferries tenure in T&T.
In its exit report Magellan Maritime Service
Ltd raised concerns that Bay Ferries had not
being co-operative in the transition.
The report stated that "it was difficult for
them to perform," in terms of what was ex-
pected of them in light of the issues with Bay
Sinanan: No training
Works and Transport Minister Rohan Si-
nanan has admitted that the problems with
the T&T Express and the T&T Spirit were the
result "of poor maintenance over the past few
Asked whether he was concerned that Bay
Ferries had failed to meet its contractual com-
mitment to train locals in the technological ex-
pertise needed to maintain the vessels, Sinanan
admitted: "That is the crux of the matter."
But he could not say at this stage whether
any legal action could be taken against the
JUNE 8 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
'Port was not ready for transition'
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