MV Super-Fast Galicia (Photo: wikipedia)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- An additional inter-island ferry will soon be available for passengers to travel back and forth between the sister isles of Trinidad and Tobago.
The government is expected to invest at least $48 million annually to provide this newest service on board the MV Super-Fast Galicia. The service is expected to be a hefty $10 million less than the lease of the TT Warrior Spirit.
This was disclosed by Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz during a recent post-Cabinet news conference. The Galicia, he said, is expected to arrive in the country before the Easter weekend, just in time for the Tobago Jazz Festival, from April 19 to 27.
“All in all this is a far better deal for Tobago,” he stated.
An improvement in passengers between Trinidad and Tobago is certainly expected, he noted.
The vessel, which is 11 years old and 160-meters long, will be coming from Gibraltar. Cadiz noted that, while the vessel will require “minor modifications”, this will be done at the ferry terminal at Port-of-Spain. There will be expected additional ancillary costs, he stated, but did not disclose the estimated costs.
The vessel, he noted, comes equipped with restrooms for disabled persons as well as medical facilities.
“This vessel even has a prison cell which, of course, will work well with the ministry of national security in moving prisoners back and forth from Tobago,” he pointed out.
According to reports Galicia can transport up to 112 passengers, 110 trailers and 60 cars. He noted too that the vessel is well able to handle all freight between Trinidad and Tobago. One issue that is expected to also be addressed with the additional ferry services, is the shortage of cement in the sister isle, he said.
“The issue of shortages of cement in Tobago will no longer be the case,” stated the minister, noting in addressing the issue that Trinidad Cement Limited has had to lease a separate vessel to transport cement to Tobago.
In commenting on the TT Warrior Spirit, Cadiz noted that the vessel had in fact been operating with only one engine for the last four months, which has "caused caused major problems for us in moving freight to and from Tobago".
The government, he said, has determined it has “good cause” to break its contract with the owners of that vessel and terminate the lease. The vessel’s owners, he noted, were unable to repair the inoperable engine in the 32-year old vessel, which has been leased for the last eight years.