New fast ferry expected to arrive in 7 days

The Jean De La Valette (JDLV) fast fer­ry is expected to dock in Port-of-Spain in about seven days time.

The vessel de­part­ed Spain on June 14 shortly after 6 pm.

A state­ment from the Na­tion­al In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed (NID­CO) on Fri­day stat­ed that the ves­sel would be mak­ing one bunker­ing stop in Cape Verde, Africa and that it was pro­ject­ed to ar­rive at the Port in Port-of-Spain with­in ten days, de­pen­dent on good weath­er con­di­tions.

The Jean De La Val­lette is be­ing leased at a cost of 34,500 Eu­ros or TT$263,580 per day.

The ves­sel was sourced from Mal­ta and was leased from Vir­tu Fer­ries, whose man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Fran­cis Portel­li of the par­ent com­pa­ny Vir­tu Hold­ings had been named in a huge oil scan­dal in Mal­ta, in­volv­ing al­le­ga­tions of mon­ey laun­der­ing and bribery.

Al­though the Op­po­si­tion claimed the pro­cure­ment of the ves­sel was ques­tion­able be­cause of the is­sues in­volv­ing Portel­li, NID­CO Chair­man Es­ther Farmer de­fend­ed the con­tract say­ing Portel­li's court mat­ter was not rel­e­vant to the pro­cure­ment process.

Farmer told the me­dia that NID­CO "deals with the le­gal­i­ty of some­thing, not the con­cept".

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan when contacted for comment yesterday on when the vessel is expected to arrive only said "not this week."

Efforts to reach Nidco's chairman Esther Farmer for further details proved futile yesterday as calls to her phone went unanswered.

- by Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant