Vice president of Canadian-based ferry service provider Bridgeman’s Services Group LP Andrew Purdey yesterday objected to the Port Authority of T&T’s (PATT) termination of the Ocean Flower II’s one-year contract.
Despte this, Purdey says his company is now considering its options on how to move forward, including providing PATT with a short-term rental proposal for its consideration of the 21- year-old vessel, since it will be “ready for services if called upon in the coming days.”
Purdey said Bridgeman’s was “willing to provide a workable solution that would be a win-win for all parties and is committed to delivering its contractual obligations in a professional and effective manner to ensure that PATT is served to the highest standard.”
Purdey outlined the proposal in a release he handed to the T&T Guardian yesterday, one day after holding secret talks with PATT deputy chairman Adrian Beharry and a legal team from the Ministry of Works. He said he wanted to clear the record on the issue. The T&T Guardian was told Purdey attempted to salvage the deal by offering the PATT a month-long free trial of the vessel to prove its worth on the sea bridge during the meeting.
Two attempts by the T&T Guardian to get him to talk about the controversy surrounding the leasing and cancellation of the ferry to PATT at a daily charter rate of US$26,500 (TT$185,000) and his company’s suitability for the job failed.
“I have no comment. Everything we want to say is in the press release,” Purdey said.
The only question he responded to was entering into any sweetener deal with PATT when they spoke on Thursday.
“That is not true,” Purdey insisted.
In outlining his company’s profile and history, Purdey maintained that Bridgeman’s has a proven track record of successfully delivering its contractual obligations to its clients and strongly believes in developing long term relationships, having successfully completed “several hundred millions of dollars of contracts.”
He said the contracts between PATT and Bridgeman’s were negotiated and completed within the highest standards of professionalism and ethics and while under the guidance of international maritime law.
“Contracts supported by international and highly reputable legal firms,” Purdey said.
He said the Cabo Star was in effect delivering according to plan, as the company is providing deck and engine services, while all other on-board services, such as cleaning, catering and port management remained with PATT.
Regarding, the Ocean Flower contract, Purdey said “Bridgeman’s Services does not agree the cancellation is valid. Bridgeman’s is considering its options on how to move forward.” He said the Ocean Flower was delayed due to several unplanned events during its 9000 nautical miles journey from Korea, through the Bearing Sea along the North Specific Ocean and onto the Panama Canal.
“All the events that caused the delay have been managed and the vessel is undergoing sea trials in Panama to ensure durable performance with all valid certificates to operate in T&T.”
He said they understand T&T’s public has been grappling with an unreliable system and “our proposal will ease the untenable situation being experienced by the Tobago business people, where millions of dollars have been lost.”
Contacted yesterday on Bridgeman’s objection to the termination of the contract and its short term proposal of the ferry to operate the sea bridge, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said that was yet to come to his attention.
“That is up to PATT. I have not received anything from PATT. Remember, I do not deal with Bridgeman’s as minister. I just take recommendations from the Port Authority, who acts as our agent and they will have all discussions and negotiations and then make a recommendation to the ministry.”
Sinanan said so far he has received no recommendations from PATT.
“Again, I cannot make any decisions until I get a recommendation from the board which I will then take to Cabinet and Cabinet will make the final decision, not me. I am getting enough trouble with this thing, unnecessary.”
Asked if Bridgeman’s should take legal action how the Government would proceed, Sinanan said he would have to get advice from his legal team.
Established in 2013, Bridgeman’s is a privately-owned company with an operational staff of over 100 staff. Its crew are of the highest calibre predominantly from the ferry trade in the Baltic region. The ownership group consists of five partners, four Canadians, and one American. All partners are successful businessmen with Brian Grande as the managing partner.