Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 13th 2018 Contents news A7
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
6.1500 6.6254 6.7993
4.8795 5.1363 5.5472
8.7135 9.1721 9.8939
7.7609 8.1694 8.8230
2.2339 2.4281 2.6248
2.7166 ******** 3.5196
for MARCH 12, 2018
Turbulent seabridge timeline
The seabridge saga started under
the first board appointed in No-
vember after the PNM came to
office in 2015.
That Board was chaired by for-
mer government minister Chris-
tine Sahadeo. Sahadeo tendered
her resignation much to the sur-
prise of other board members on
February 22, 2017.
The entire Board which she
chaired subsequently tendered
Those resignations came amid
reports that the MV Superfast
Galicia which had been working
on the seabridge for the past five
years was returning to Spain. The
departure date of the vessel was
listed on shipmax.com as Feb-
ruary 14, 2017. The agent for the
Galicia met with Works and Trans-
port Minister Rohan Sinanan and
it was agreed that the Galicia will
depart after Easter. The vessel set
sail on April 22, to return to Spain.
The Government last month com-
menced civil action against the
agents of the Galicia.
On March 6, 2017, it was an-
nounced that former Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Fi-
nance Alison Lewis would be ap-
pointed as the new chairman of
a new Board of the PATT. Since
assuming office the Board led by
Lewis has been under pressure
dealing with one issue after the
other affecting the lifeline be-
tween Trinidad and Tobago the
inter-island ferry service.
April 11-Alison Lewis and members board at
the PATT take oath at President’s House.
April 12-PM Keith Rowley tells Parliament
Government acted in the interest of taxpayers
when it resisted attempts to “strong-arm the
government” when it refused to extend the
contract for the Superfast Galicia.
April 23-Atlantic Provider and Trinity
Transporter contracted to pick up slack on
seabridge with the departure of the Galicia.
April 24-Tenders close for a cargo vessel for
June 5-T&T Spirit goes on drydock leaving
the T&T Express as the lone passenger ferry
on the seabridge.
June 29-Port authority and Works Minister
announce that the Cabo Star, a cargo vessel,
and the Ocean Flower 2, a passenger vessel,
have been contracted for service from
Bridgemans Services Ltd.
July 19-Cabo Star arrives in Trinidad waters
two days after its scheduled arrival.
July 31-Cabinet appoints a three-member
committee—headed by retired Col Lyle
Alexander, former commanding officer of the
T&T Defence Force Reserves—to examine the
general operations of the Port Authority of
Trinidad and Tobago (PATT).
August 1-Contract for the Ocean Flower 2 is
cancelled after it failed to meet three arrival
August 15-CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago
Inter-Island Transport Company Leon Grant
is suspended with full pay pending an
investigation into procurement of the Cabo
Star and the Ocean Flower 2. To date, Grant
remained on suspension with full pay.
August 15-Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
appoints businessman Christian Moutett as
a sole investigator into the “circumstances
surrounding the procurement of the Cabo
Star and the Ocean Flower 2 and the entering
into the charter party agreement for these
August 24-Stakeholders meet with Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley and give him
a first-hand account of how the three-
month breakdown on the seabridge has
been affecting the transport of goods and
services to Tobago. PM assures Port has
been mandated to find a ferry quickly,
also that Cabinet had taken a decision to
order a custom-built ferry, and that more
Tobagonians will be appointed to the Board
of the Port Authority.
August 27-The Alison Lewis-led board
reports that since the introduction of the MV
Cabo Star into service the transportation of
passengers/drivers and commercial cargo
vehicles on the seabridge had returned to
a regular and reliable service between the
islands. It said over the period June – August
there has been an excess capacity on the
August 28-THA Minority Leader Watson
Duke attempts to swim from Tobago to
Trinidad in protest over seabridge problems.
September 4-Parliament’s Joint Select
Committee into Land and Rural Development
begins investigation into the procurement of
the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2
September 14-Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley receives the Moutett Report into the
procurement of the controversial Cabo Star
and the Ocean Flower 2 vessels.
October 9-Charmaine Lewis acting GM/
CEO of the Port Authority returns from
vacation and is dismissed by email. The
Port Chairman Alison Lewis tells Charmaine
Lewis that the PATT Board had lost trust and
confidence in her and decided to terminate
her employment with immediate effect. Lewis
has challenged her dismissal.
November 29-Government announces
that the tenders committee at the Port failed
to find a ferry for the seabridge. A Cabinet-
appointed committee comprising four
Government Ministers is mandated to take
charge of this process and find a ferry “in the
shortest possible time”. PM says NIDCO will
assist the committee.
December 4-PM Rowley, says he will ensure
that the Christmas season does not meet
Tobago without a second passenger ferry to
service the seabridge. He spoke at a function
at the Cove Industrial Estate, in Tobago.
January 7-Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
announces in an address to the nation that
the Government had purchased a new boat
for the seabridge in Asia.
January 8-Finance Minister Colm Imbert
tells the CNC3 Morning Brew that the new
boat purchased by the Government “will be
here within the next two months. It is a brand
January 12-Imbert responds to questions
in Parliament and reveals that Government
spent US17.4 M (TT$120M) to purchase the
new passenger ferry for the seabridge.
January 18-Imbert tells post-Cabinet
news conference that the passenger ferry
underwent rigorous checks. He said Lloyd’s
Register of Hong Kong was commissioned
to an inspection of the vessel. Schulte
Marine of Australia
and experts from UTT’s
provided a second
and third independent
inspections of the vessel.
All three inspections
and associated sea trials
were done in China.
also announces that the
new ferry will be in the
country by April. He said
the vessel has a capacity
of 700 passengers and
100 vehicles. He said the
cost of purchasing the vessel was far cheaper
than leasing. Imbert announces the vessel will
be named Galleons Passage, after a stretch of
water between Trinidad and Tobago where
it will sail. NIDCO will be the operator of the
vessel there is no role for the Port Authority
in an arrangement that is similar to the water
February 5-Cabinet meets and ratifies
purchase price of US$17.4M for the ferry.
February 9-Lone passenger ferry, T&T
Express, pulled off the seabridge due to
insurance issues. Passengers accommodated
on Caribbean Airlines at no additional cost for
almost a week.
March 5-T&T Express down for repairs for
almost a week. No alternatives given to
passengers apart from those who could travel
aboard the Cabo Star.
March 13-Class certificates expire for T&T
Express. No word on when the T&T Spirit will
return. Galleons Passage docked in Japan.
Galleons Passage headed to Japan.
mechanical problems last week
resulting in cancellations to its sailing
schedule. But the Port now faces a
situation where the class certificates
expired at midnight last night.
Unless a further extension of class
certificates is granted by Norwegian-
based international accreditors DNV
TT Ltd, the T&T Express will be taken
out of service.
If this happens it means there will
be no passenger ferry to service the
The T&T Spirit, which has been on
dry-dock since June last year, is not
ready to resume service.
The Port had hoped that the vessel
which underwent sea trials two
weeks ago would have been ready to
resume service today. But well-placed
sources told the T&T Guardian that
after spending more than $70 million
on parts and repairs the recent sea
trials did not go as planned.
Last Friday, Finance Minister Colm
Imbert told reporters in Tobago that
Caribbean Airlines had been asked
to “charter a specific aircraft to use
on the Tobago route over the next
few months or so,” under a similar
arrangement as over the Carnival
period to transport passengers at no
Lewis admits to frustration
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