The two fast ferries that operate the seabridge between Trinidad and Tobago continues to function as normal.
This was the assurance given yesterday by officials who sought to reassure the travelling public that the plume of black smoke that was seen coming from behind the Port-of-Spain wharf around 9.30 am yesterday, did not emanate from one of the vessels currently servicing the route.
A senior official confirmed: “It was the exhaust from the T&T Spirit.”
The Spirit was removed from the route schedule on August 1, in order to for dry-docking works to be carried out.
In a release on August 7, the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) advised the vessel would be taken out of service by the management of the Trinidad and Tobago Inter-island Transportation Company Limited (TTIT) to, “Undergo its statutory maintenance programme, which will commence initially at the harbor and later at Caridoc, Chaguaramas.”
It stressed that it was necessary to, “Ensure optimum performance of the vessel.”
During the period of the T&T Spirit’s dry-docking, the Jean De La Valette (JDLV) and the Galleons Passage have both continued to service the inter-island sea bridge.
PATT officials said the JDLV does not sail to Trinidad, from Tobago, on a Wednesday as it undergoes routine maintenance at the Scarborough port; while the Galleons Passage left Port-of-Spain yesterday at its’ scheduled time of 9 am.
Officials said the 26-second video clip posted to social media by a motorist heading into the capital and claiming the smoke was coming from the newest ferry was misleading and mischievous.
The T&T Spirit was purchased at a cost of US $60 million and commissioned into service in July 2007.
The vessel boasts a passenger capacity of 765, and a vehicle capacity of 200 - with an average sailing time of four hours
In June 2017, the T&T Spirit was taken off the sea bridge for an initial month of maintenance work. I
t took almost a year before it was returned to the route - in April 2018 - following several failed sea trials when it came off dry-dock with an estimated US $8 million in repairs.
In December 2018, sailings of the T&T Spirit were cancelled for an indefinite period of time after officials claimed a cracked crankcase had led to the vessel being pulled out of service.
Reporter: Anna-Lisa Paul