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Govt seals deal for Galleons Passage
The Galleons Passage now officially belongs to T&T after the Government on Wednesday paid US17.4 million less a five per cent retention fee for the new ferry.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert defended the spend saying the purchase price of US $17.4 million “for a new ferry is very fair and reasonable when compared to the cost of similar new vessels.”
He said no additional payments were made to the original owner who commissioner the ferry or to the shipyard.”
Imbert has been keeping the population up-to-date on developments relating to the ferry via Twitter.
He had earlier posted: “It’s official. The Galleons Passage has been registered in the name of the National Infrastructure Development Company of T&T (Nidco) and an experienced crew is currently being mobilised in Guandong, China, to sail the vessel to Port-of-Spain.”
Imbert also said the vessel was issued a class certification by Lloyd’s Register Classification Society of 100A1 SSC Passenger Ship. This means that the vessel is suitable for seagoing service, was constructed or accepted into Lloyds Register class, is maintained in good and efficient condition and has good and efficient anchoring and mooring equipment.
The vessel was handed over to Nidco after undergoing sea trials and will set sail for T&T today. It is estimated that it will take two months to get here, with an arrival date sometime in April. Nidco will operate the vessel which will be leased to the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) on the seabridge.
The Galleons Passage was purchased for US$17.4 million and the trip from China will cost an additional US$800,000 which well-placed officials at the PATT said included bunkering and mobilisation costs.
The vessel carries the International Maritime Organisation’s number of 9772888 and is listed as a passenger/ro-ro cargo ship. It is currently sailing under the flag of Vanatu. I
The Galleons Passage will be introduced as the third vessel for the domestic route which has been plagued with problems since the departure of the Superfast Galicia in April last year.
Only on Wednesday the PATT announced that the lone vessel currently on the seabridge, the T&T Express, was being pulled from service because of rough seas. Unofficial word is that the vessel, which has been experiencing mechanical and other problems, failed to get a renewal of its insurance from Lloyds. Port officials declined comment when asked.
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