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Devant: Water taxis were risky
Passengers who used the water taxis, HC Olivia, Melancia and Katia, were at risk because of the physical and mechanical condition of the three foreign-used vessels. This was stated by Transport Minister Devant Maharaj during a media visit to the vessels at Harts Cut, Chaguaramas, yesterday.
An evaluation report, commissioned by the National Infrastructure Development Company, listed the many problems affecting the vessels: The report stated:
• Hull flexion has caused failure of some adhesive bonds, allowing water intrusion;
• air-conditioning components on upper deck require frequent maintenance to seal leaks at penetrations;
• the hydraulic power units that drive the steering and other control functions of the jets have proven to be fragile for various reasons, including probable poor maintenance by earlier users;
• owing to the demand on the main engine and drive train in general, each vessel’s exhaust systems were continually problematic, with frequent leaks and deterioration of lagging insulation. All these systems will require complete renewal;
• the engines are taking in very hot air rather than the cooler air that results in easier operation of the machines. Engine deterioration was, therefore, exacerbated; and
• the waterjets, which take in large quantities of water and expel it at high velocity to achieve propulsion, are inclined to take in foreign objects which impede propulsion and, often, force the vessel off-lift. This requires a “back-flushing” exercise by the master and crew or, if that fails, divers have to be brought in.
Maharaj said the vessels were sold to an unnamed buyer in Guadeloupe.
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