The trial run of the Galleons Passage between Trinidad and Tobago was a success according to the National Infrastructure and Development Company (Nidco).
The inter-island ferry took four and a half hours to make the trip and spent some time at the docks in Scarborough before returning to Trinidad.
Social media was rife with comments and pictures of the ferry unable to connect with the ramp in Tobago and by 2 pm yesterday, the Ministry of Works and Transport tweeted that the crew was “currently in the process of exploring docking options and analysing all required logistics needed for a seamless operation when the vessel is commissioned into service”.
An hour later, Nidco sent a statement praising the run and saying that its objective was to determine the “duration of the journey” to Tobago.
“That is speeds, the overall quality of on-board experience, and to check some passenger safety features,” the release said.
“We also sought to determine the more suitable berthing option, since the vessel is equipped with both bow and stern ramps.”
The Nidco said that based on the trial run, the Galleons Passage will use its stern ramp in both islands.
The company also described all other checks as “highly successful”.
In a subsequent interview, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan reiterated that yesterday’s trial run was not about whether the ferry could berth in Tobago.
“We always knew that the ramp on the bow was going to be a challenge and they were just testing that today (yesterday),” Sinanan said. He said all of the previous ferries berthed by the stern and not the bow and the Galleons Passage was no different.
He said United National Congress (UNC) activist Devant Maharaj was busy on social media spreading rumours about the boat.
“Today was not about docking, it was about speed and safety,” he said. Kamla: It’s a piece of junk
But, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday described the Galleon’s Passage as a piece of junk.
Speaking to reporters at her constituency office yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said the boat was of no use to the people of T&T.
Asked to comment on a report that the exit ramp on the boat was some 20 feet off the ground, so vehicles could not exit the ferry, Persad-Bissessar said, “People were anxious and excited to get a connection with the sea bridge but the boat cannot dock. Once again this shows the competence and mismanagement of the Rowley government and we are once again left without a sea bridge.
“We bought a boat that is junk and scrap iron. How could they buy a new boat and have it parked up at Staubles Bay? Now that it actually attempting to float it cannot dock.”
—with reporting by