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Sinanan: No date on Galleons Passage arrival
When the Galleons Passage does arrive in T&T—and there’s no date still—Nidco will need time to do certain requisites regarding the vessel and crew, after which it’ll be put into service.
This was confirmed by Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan in response to queries on the issue from United National Congress Senator Wade Mark during yesterday’s Senate session.
“If I could predict the exact date of things which I don’t have control over I wouldn’t be here today—the (Galleon’s Passage) would be here at the earliest practical opportunity,” Sinanan said in response to Mark’s repeated queries on an arrival date.
Sinanan said the vessel arrived in Cuba on May 26 and prior to that, people representing the seller and Government (the buyer) arrived in Cuba on May 15 to expedite retrofitting work to be done on the boat at the Damen Shipyard in Santiago de Cuba.
He reiterated Wednesday’s statements by Finance Minister Colm Imbert that the seller had difficulties transporting some required materials and equipment from Australia to Cuba for the retrofitting work. He said the seller had chosen the shipyard for its work under the purchase contract to be done.
“But Government can wait no longer for the boat to reach here and decided to bring the vessel from Cuba to T&T at the earliest practical opportunity and have the retrofitting done here, on a phased basis while the vessel’s in service,” Sinanan said.
“Upon arrival here, time must be allowed for the reflagging of the vessel, familiarisation of the crew with the vessel and type rating of the crew—after which it’ll be put into service.”
He said the seller will bear the cost of its planned retrofitting and Government will handle the cost of the retrofitting it had planned to have done also.
Mark asked if Government wasn’t aware of the embargo against Cuba and also sought the cost to taxpayers while the boat was at the Cuban shipyard for 31 days.
When Senate vice president Nigel de Freitas disallowed his queries, Mark responded,”This is a democracy, not a PNM party group!”
He was cautioned by de Freitas.
Sinanan said dredging of the Port-of-Spain harbour will begin in late September and occur over two months. Once completed, all cargo operations will return to their original Government Shipping Service (GSS) jetty and cargo berthing operations currently occurring at berth three will cease, he said.
Sinanan said the return to the GSS jetty will eliminate the current traffic pile-up which occurs when trucks bring cargo to berth three for shipping. Port police liaise with the T&T Police Service to handle the traffic, he added.
Sinanan also revealed the Solomon Hochoy Highway from Chaguanas to Golconda will be widened to three lanes and unsuitable cable barriers will be replaced by rigid barriers.
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