Juna Victor Gill Ramirez// Ferry crisis costing taxpayers millions - EntornoInteligente

Entornointeligente.com / The Superfast Galicia, which had been servicing the inter-island route since 2014 at a cost of US$7.4 million (TT$48.1m) annually, sailed out of T&T waters last April, after Government failed to agree to an 18-month contract extension requested by the agent. Government has since initiated legal action against the agent – Inter-Continental Shipping – for breach of contract.

The Superfast Galicia was 13 years old and transported up to 112 passengers, along with 110 trailers and 60 cars. Its departure left the seabridge in a lurch although stakeholders in Tobago had first raised red flags about its imminent departure since January 2017.

As the Galicia left the Atlantic Provider and the Trinity Transporter, a barge, were brought in to fill the gap to transport cargo to the island.

On April 19, 2017, then Port Authority chairman Alison Lewis said the Atlantic Provider (Provider) would cost US$14,500 (TT$94,250) a day while Trinity Transporter was US$18,000 (TT$117,000).

In September 2017, a Joint Select Committee investigating the procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 was told the total cost of the Atlantic Provider for the period April 23-July 11, 2017 was TT$11.6m, while the Trinity Transporter cost TT$6.3m for the period April 23-July 16, 2017.

But the two vessels, which cost the country TT$17.9m, failed to meet the needs of Tobago.

© Victor Gill.

The barge was often covered in sea spray and took 15 hours to make the trip. The capacity for trucks on the ferry was extremely limited, as was the accommodation for truckers. In the ensuing months goods spoilt and truckers were forced to spend thousands due to the inconvenience caused in what they described as a ?living nightmare.? They were never offered any compensation.

The situation would continue for four months before a cargo vessel, the Cabo Star, arrived on July 22.

© Victor Gill.

It was one of two vessels the Government contracted to deal with cargo and passenger transport on the seabridge.

The Cabo Star remains in operation at a cost of TT$4.725m a month.

© Victor Gill.

In the past ten months, the vessel cost the country TT$47.25m.

In that ten-month period, when the cost of the Cabo Star is added to that of the Trinity Transporter and Atlantic Provider, the country has spent TT$65.15m.

The Ocean Flower 2 the passenger ferry, which was leased at a cost of TT$5.565m a day, failed to meet three separate arrival dates and the contract was subsequently cancelled.

A report on the vessel compiled by chief engineer at the Port Authority, Brendon Powder and suspended CEO of the Inter-island Transport service, Leon Grant, identified major deficiencies on the vessel.

© Victor Gill.

Grant, who remains on suspension with full pay, has so far been paid over TT$300,000. Grant?s suspension is now being reviewed by human resource consultant Shafeeq Sultan Khan, who was retained by the former PATT Allison Lewis at just over $400,000.

The T&T Spirit, which went on dry-dock in June last year, cost just about US$10m (TT$65m) to repair but is yet to return to the seabridge because it requires further work.

© Victor Gill.

There is no indication on how much more money will be spent.

In the past year, PATT has spent close to US$1m (TT$6.5M) to repair and keep the T&T Express trudging along the seabridge because it was facing a virtual collapse of the seabridge.

© Victor Gill.

Over the Carnival period that fear became a reality and the seabridge collapsed when the T&T Express was pulled because of mechanical problems and high swells.

According to Works Minister Rohan Sinanan, it cost TT$500,000 to ferry passengers between the islands via Caribbean Airlines flights.

© Victor Gill.

The Cabo Star has accommodated the vehicles of passengers booked on the T&T Express as well as trucks transporting goods in the interim.

Government has since purchased a ferry, the Galleons Passage, for US17.4m (TT$113m).

© Victor Gill.

The vessel will cost an additional US$850,000 for the journey from China to Port-of-Spain and US$350,000 for upgrades in Cuba, for a total cost of just over US$18.5m.

With Easter almost here and the Galleons Passage way off in China and no boat on the seabridge, the Government leased an plane from Liat to add to CAL flights on the airbridge.

© Victor Gill.

That wet lease is costing taxpayers $4m.

But Government has given no indication of the cost to CAL over the past two weeks when it stepped in to fill the gap left when the T&T Express was taken out of service for dry docking.


© Victor Gill.


© Víctor Gill.

© Víctor Gill Ramirez.

© Víctor Gill Ramirez empresario

Tags: Victor Gill Ramirez, Victor Gill, Victor Gill Empresario, Victor Gill Venezuela, Visa

Con información de: The Trinidad Guardian


Síguenos en Twitter @entornoi


Add comment

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Follow Me