Today- Galleons Passage is still anchored at Panama Bay awaiting clearance of marine traffic to make its way through the canal and then embark on their journey to Santiago de Cuba.
Cabinet has approved the spending of close to $8 million by the Port Authority of T&T to get the Ports of Port-of-Spain and Scarborough ready for the Galleons Passage.
Lyle Alexander, Port Chairman, informed earlier in the week that the Port is undergoing ancillary works right now to accommodate the vessel when it arrives, both at Scarborough and Port of Spain. The Port has contracted the services of Polaris Marine to lay down steel plates on the jetty to accommodate the ramp when it comes from the vessel and to install piles to tie the boat when it is alongside the pier.
He is optimistic that the work will be completed before the Galleons Passage arrives.
Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said that there was no change in the ten-day schedule in Cuba. He indicated that the vessel will be re-flagged to carry the flag of T&T in either Panama or Cuba.
During Tuesday night’s debate on the mid-year budget review he also said that the T&T Spirit is back on the service and the Cabo Star’s (cargo) contracts has been extended. But he said Nidco will be going out to tender shortly for a more suitable vessel. And for the longer term, the Government has decided to buy its own cargo vessel.
The Galleons Passage, up till late last Wednesday, had not gotten a berth and remained seven kilometers in Panama Bay awaiting its turn to approach the canal. Marine traffic on the Panama Canal was hectic with scores of pleasure craft waiting their turn to pass through.
Satellite tracking showed a pilot boat parked close up to the Galleons Passage which, more than likely, was there to take the crew on land. Documentation has to be lodged with the boat’s shipping agent and fees paid, to allow it to pass through the canal.
Given the volume of traffic in the Panama Canal on Wednesday, it is still uncertain when the boat will not make it to Santiago de Cuba, a five day sailing, where it will spend ten days at the Damen Shipyard for installation of toilets, a full canopy over the sundeck and the remodeling of the rails on the passenger deck.
Those works are expected to cost an additional $2.3 million.
It will take between 10 and 12 days to be outfitted and then sail to Port of Spain which is a five-day journey.
The expected arrival date is now mid-June.