On January 7, 2018, Prime Minister Keith Rowley advised that a new passenger ferry vessel, had been purchased by the Government and was en route to Trinidad and Tobago from a port in Asia. Following that, on February 23rd, Finance Minister, Colm Imbert announced that the Government now officially owns the US $17.4 million dollar fast ferry that was due for arrival in April 2018.
Galleon’s passage, historically the name of the route between Trinidad and Tobago, can hold 700 passengers and 100 vehicles with an average one-way sailing time of four hours.
Concerns have been raised about the vessel’s ability to fulfil the requirements of the crossing on an ongoing basis and if the necessary approvals would have commenced.
As for the now departed Super Fast Galicia, state legal action against the broker has commenced for recovery of damages for breach of contract and its early departure.
But how did it get to this?
The details can be found in a report prepared by Christian Mouttet at the behest of the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs into the failed procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2.
The report attached outlines a chronology of events from 2014 to 2017-
-The Charter Hire Agreement of the M.V. Superfast Galicia in May 2014 to its departure in April 2017
-The issuance of tender for the Charter Hire of a Cargo Vessel for three years
-The M.V. Atlantic Provider and Trinity Barge where Charter was entered into with owners of the vessels
-The M.V. Cabo Star and the approval and cancellation of its Charter Party Agreement
-The role of Bay Ferries Management Services and the termination of their services
-The Magellan Maritime Services engagement and their role in transitioning Fast Ferries from Bay Ferries
-The Management of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
-The M.V. Ocean Flower 2 and the approval and cancellation of its Charter Party Agreement
The report gives insight into the many factors and hindrances that led to the inefficiency of the sea bridge in the past year, and hopefully serves as a model for avoiding past oversights.