We’re going to get a bigger boat.
Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz announced yesterday that the Government will be leasing a new vessel to service the inter-island ferry route between Trinidad and Tobago to replace the downed Warrior Spirit.
The new vessel, sourced through a Spanish company from Gibraltar, is called the MV Superfast Galecia and is expected to arrive over the Easter weekend and will be in service in time for the Tobago Jazz Experience later this month.
The new vessel is 11 years old, Cadiz said, relatively young compared to the Warrior Spirit’s 34 years.
It is also bigger and has restroom facilities for the disabled, medical facilities and a prison cell.
It also travels at 22 knots, twice the speed of the Warrior Spirit.
Cadiz said the boat has been acquired for a 12-month lease at $48 million, $10 million less than the Warrior Spirit’s annual lease.
The Government is in the process of trying to acquire a new boat, but the request-for-proposal process will last for about 12 months, hence the length of this new lease, he said.
“This is a far better deal for Tobago and will be able to guarantee the freight service to the island.”
Cadiz said there will be some ancillary costs, including infrastructural modifications to the Port of Port of Spain to accommodate the vessel’s bigger size.
This vessel will be able to take all the freight to Tobago, he said, including cement, helping to alleviate the shortage on the island.
The acquisition has been necessary as last December the Warrior Spirit lost an engine, which the owners have not yet been able to repair.
The Government will now negotiate with the Spirit’s owners to break its contract and, while it may incur some costs, it believes it has a good cause.