Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2017 Contents A10 news
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The Board of the Port Au-
thority has completed negoti-
ations for two new vessels for
And while Chief Secretary of the
Tobago House of Assembly (THA)
Kelvin Charles sees it as "the light
at the end of the tunnel," Minori-
ty leader of the THA Watson Duke
believes that it is a case of "being
penny wise and pound foolish."
Duke claims the new passenger
vessel is over 20 years old.
Port Authority chairman Alison
Lewis confirmed yesterday that the
negotiations for the vessels have
"We have completed negotia-
tions and due diligence," she said
in a telephone interview.
All what's left to be done now,
she said, is for the "terms and con-
ditions of payment to be complet-
Lewis, however, would not con-
firm or deny whether the passenger
vessel sourced is the Ocean Flower,
a South Korean vessel which was
first named in the Parliament last
Friday by Chaguanas West MP
Ganga Singh during debate on a
motion brought by the Opposition
relating to relief for people affected
by Tropical Storm Bret.
Singh said then that Works and
Transport Minister Rohan Si-
nanan's "head is in Korea where
they are looking for the vessel."
Delivering his response to To-
bago's $5b budget yesterday, Duke
said ,"I have found out that there
is a boat that is being considered
and I want to tell you what is com-
ing to me here from this phone I
control the world. From this phone
everything comes in. There is a boat
called the Ocean Flower, a Kore-
an vessel that was manufactured
in 1996, which means it is past
15 years. The best practice in the
industry when a vessel reaches 15
years it is time to sell it."
Duke said, "The Ocean Flower
is 21 years old, the same age as the
T&T Express. This old boat they
want to deposit on us here run the
risk of breaking down, yet the Port
Authority signed a letter of credit
with the provider last Friday."
He refused to divulge the source
of his information about the boat,
saying only "this information came
from Korea, from the worldwide
Pressed for a more specific an-
swer he said, "I will not give my
sources, but I am entitled to say
information reaching me. You all
want to dump all kind of old boat
According to Duke, the vessel
"can hold about 225 cars and about
600 persons, but we do not want to
be penny wise and pound foolish."
He said, "I have not yet gotten
the cost of operating the boat, but
this is not the best boat. The vessel
needs to sail to Trinidad, but that is
easier said than done. It is expected
around the 15th of July."
Duke questioned what will be
"the cost to business if it starts to
break down again or is there going
to be an exorbitant management
fee for the Ocean Flower?"
In an almost immediate response
THA Chief Secretary, in his contri-
bution to the budget debate, em-
phasised "the efforts that would
have been expended by the Board
of the Port Authority in many
instances were jettisoned by the
spiteful comments from the people
of Tobago and of Trinidad".
Charles said, "One day we will
get an email saying we prepared
to treat with you and on the oth-
er day you get an email saying it's
off. There were people around the
world not prepared to treat with us
based on our posture, that is why I
have been very careful with what
But he said a solution is close at
hand. "There are two boats that
will be coming, one in respect of
passenger ferry that can carry cargo
and one in respect of cargo."
He said while the position from
day one had always been that
"there will be short-term arrange-
ment to be followed by longer term
arrangement which will include the
purchase of a new boat, one can-
not go into a parlour or store and
purchase a boat," he said.
Charles said an agreement "has
been reached, due diligence has
been concluded and all that re-
mains to be done is for the contract
to be executed. As I said there is
light at the end of the tunnel. The
fact is that the two boats will be
here by the time the busy season
relative to the holiday period would
be upon us."
Deal sealed for two seabridge vessels
Passenger and cargo woes turned chaotic after the departure of the MV Super-
fast Galicia on April 21 and the frequent mechanical problems with the two fast
ferries---T&T Spirit and T&T Express.
An attempt to rectify the cargo issues by the Port was met with severe criticism
after a barge, The Trinity Transporter and a cargo vessel, The Atlantic Provider,
were leased to service the seabridge.
For just over two months passengers travelling to Tobago on the seabridge have
invariably suffered significant difficulties. Business owners have also complained
about a shortage of groceries, hardware supplies and other essentials.
Travel to the island has also been affected over-subscribed flights from Piarco
to Crown Point during the period.
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