At least three passenger vessels should be working the local seabridge so that passengers will once again have faith in the service being provided, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has said.
And Sinanan said he yesterday is “working hard” to ensure that this becomes a reality.
He made the statements as the T&T Spirit docked at the Scarborough Port in Tobago after a sea trial from the Port of Port-of-Spain in Trinidad. The T&T Spirit is scheduled to return to the seabridge service tomorrow with a trip from Tobago to Trinidad at 6.30 am. The T&T Spirit had been taken out of service along the seabridge for dry docking on June 6 last year.
That dry docking took “significantly longer than expected” and caused the “collapse of the passenger aspect” of the seabridge, Sinanan said.
The total collapse of the seabridge in fact came when the Port Authority of T&T was also forced to remove the T&T Express from the service on March 13 for an overdue dry-docking.
Sinanan yesterday said citizens from Tobago had suffered a lot more than those from Trinidad as a result of the woes on the seabridge, which he said was caused as a result of “bad planning.” The return of the T&T Spirit alone is not the end of the sea-bridge’s challenges, he said.
“This is not the end all of the challenges on the seabridge, this is just the beginning of the upswing, we have a long way to go,” Sinanan said, adding citizens have lost faith in the service being offered on the seabridge.
“The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago don’t just want a vessel, they want a consistent reliable service and one vessel on the seabridge will not solve the problem, we recognise that.”
He added: “What I am working hard to achieve is to have at least three vessels working the seabridge so at any point in time we should have two vessels operating crossing each other, so we can get back to that point where the reliability is what will attract people back to using the service.”
Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said the return of the T&T Spirit to the seabridge had brought a “wave of relief” and is “a light at the end of the tunnel” with respect to the difficulties on the seabridge.