The Galleons Passage is coming to Trinidad …”THE HOUDINI BOAT”

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It has been dubbed the Houdini boat!

The Galleons Passage, reportedly bought by the Government, is making its way to Trinidad without the necessary upgrades.

Another story from the Government on the so-called delay of a vessel nobody has seen. Every week, it is either Colm Imbert or Rohan Sinanan giving updates on the vessel which is limping towards this country to be used on the sea bridge.

The last we heard was that the Galleons Passage was in Cuba for an upgrade. Well, the upgrade was not done and so, the vessel limps its way to Trinidad.

On Wednesday, Imbert put another spin on this vessel. He revealed that enhancement work contracted by the ferry’s seller couldn’t be done in Cuba as planned and the vessel is instead now coming straight to Trinidad.

The enhancement work will be done in Trinidad on a phased basis while the vessel does the Tobago ferry run very soon.

The vessel, which left China in February, had been expected in April, May, then soon. But the soon now goes to just now.

Imbert said arrangements for enhancement work had two components – certain upgrade works to be done by the seller, plus upgrades to be done by the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) on behalf of Government.

He added, “The seller had work to be done at his expense with his own arrangement on a contracted basis with the Cuban shipyard and Nidco also had work to do on a contracted basis in a separate transaction with the Cuban shipyard.

“We’ve been informed recently that some of the materials and equipment that the seller requires to complete the enhancement work agreed to in the contract for sale of the vessel to Nidco; some of the materials and equipment, the seller is having difficulty transporting them from Australia to Cuba.”

He continued, “Cuba is still an embargoed country for many countries. Cuba accepts shipments from some European states and doesn’t apparently, make it very easy for shipments from countries like Australia.

“The seller told us recently that although fabrication of one of the canopies had begun, they were having difficulty in getting an airline or shipping company to transport some of the remaining equipment and materials into Cuba.

“So Government has taken a decision to bring the vessel to Trinidad immediately and the work will be done in Trinidad, the boat will be put into service very soon and the enhancement work will be done on phased basis while the boat is transporting passengers to and from Tobago.

“The seller, as part of the contract for purchase, had agreed to do certain enhancement work at Damen Shipyard in Santiago de Cuba. The works the seller had contracted to have done have been affected by the seller’s inability to get materials and equipment into Cuba – not the Government’s inability to get materials and equipment into Cuba.”

In March, Nidco advised that retrofitting of the vessel would occur over ten days during the layover in Cuba. This work included a canopy installation on the vehicle deck to protect against sea spray, additional anchor rings for securing vehicles on deck and sealing a gap between the ramp door and vessel hull. Some of the works would be paid for by the seller, as agreed pre-purchase.

But Imbert could not say when the boat would leave for Trinidad.
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