Galleons Passage functioning in capacity intended for—Sinanan

Less than two months af­ter the Galleons Pas­sage be­gan op­er­at­ing the Seabridge be­tween the two is­lands, the Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to face a bar­rage of crit­i­cism over its less than stel­lar per­for­mance which most re­cent­ly saw retro­fit­ted pan­els be­com­ing dis­lodged and dam­ag­ing at least two ve­hi­cles be­ing trans­port­ed to To­ba­go.

The in­ci­dent, which oc­curred last Wednes­day, was said to be the lat­est in a long line of op­er­a­tional is­sues af­fect­ing the smooth sail­ing of the Galleons Pas­sage.

Among the prob­lems af­fect­ing the Galleons Pas­sage since it’s maid­en voy­age on Oc­to­ber 19 are me­chan­i­cal is­sues; along with time con­straints which forced the in­ter­na­tion­al cap­tain and his crew to re­duce the ves­sel’s speed through the Bo­cas so as to min­imise feel­ings of nau­sea among the pas­sen­gers.

De­fend­ing the ves­sel’s op­er­a­tions was Min­is­ter of Works and Trans­port Ro­han Sinanan who said the Galleons Pas­sage con­tin­ued to func­tion in the ca­pac­i­ty it was in­tend­ed for.

Claim­ing there was noth­ing wrong with the ves­sel, Sinanan dis­missed con­cerns that is­sues con­tin­ued to arise which ham­pered the ves­sel’s op­er­a­tions.

In the lat­est in­ci­dent on De­cem­ber 5, the ves­sel was forced to re­turn to the Port at Port-of-Spain less than two hours af­ter it de­part­ed due to what of­fi­cials claimed was ad­verse weath­er con­di­tions which re­sult­ed in two car pan­els be­com­ing dis­lodged lead­ing to two ve­hi­cles be­ing dam­aged.

In a brief in­ter­view, Sinanan said the ves­sel “was work­ing and there are no is­sues with it or any­thing.”

De­fend­ing the op­er­a­tions of the Galleons Pas­sage thus far, Sinanan said the in­ter­na­tion­al cap­tain had opt­ed to err on the side of cau­tion and be­cause of the rougher than nor­mal seas, “He did not want to take any chances and de­cid­ed to bring back in the ves­sel.”

The min­is­ter’s claims were in di­rect con­trast to an on­line video which in­di­cat­ed clear skies, bright sun­shine and calm seas.

Asked to re­spond to claims that the ves­sel still could not tra­verse the Bo­cas at full speed, Sinanan said, “I don’t know where that is com­ing from. The boat is de­signed for a cer­tain speed and so far, it has ac­com­plished that man­date.”

How­ev­er, the min­is­ter stressed that ves­sel own­ers were con­strained by how they op­er­ate up and down the mar­itime chan­nel.

He ex­plained: “When you leave the Port at Port-of-Spain, you can­not go to max­i­mum speed im­me­di­ate­ly be­cause there is an is­sue with the hous­es on the coast­line be­cause if you go to a max­i­mum speed, you would cre­ate dam­age to some of the prop­er­ties.”

Sinanan con­tin­ued, “You have to get out of the chan­nel at a cer­tain speed be­fore you can move up to your max­i­mum speed. This is some­thing that all ves­sels have to un­der­go.”

Reaf­firm­ing that the ves­sel was work­ing as it was de­signed to, Sinanan said this method had en­abled them to achieve the jour­ney to To­ba­go with­in a four-hour pe­ri­od. Asked to pro­vide an up­date re­gard­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of a third ves­sel to ser­vice the sea bridge, Sinanan said, “The min­istry an­nounced some time ago that there was a ten­der out for a third ves­sel to be leased. That ten­der has been com­plet­ed and the process is al­most fin­ished, so very soon a rec­om­men­da­tion will be made to the Cab­i­net.”

Sinanan said they were ex­pect­ing to add two ad­di­tion­al ves­sels to the route by 2020.

Reporter: Anna-Lisa Paul

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