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Ferry woes continue

Published: 
Monday, February 12, 2018
The Cabo Star loaded with vehicles heading to Tobago yesterday.

Players from Tobago steelbands Petrotrin Katzenjammers and NLCB Bucaneers were among the scores of people looking to return to Tobago yesterday ahead of Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

The bands, which placed second and fourth in the medium band category in Saturday night’s Panorama finals, were on the Port of Spain Port early yesterday to get on to the Cabo Star for the 1 pm sailing.

The pans and racks as well as some of the panmen were able to get on to the vessel, but many other panmen were shuttled to the Piarco International Airport for flights to Tobago.

Vice president of the Inter-Island Truckers Association Samuel Applewhite told the T&T Guardian that in addition to the pans, the vehicles of a number of people who had confirmed tickets on the T&T Express were also loaded on and some trucks were accommodated.

President of Bridgemans Services Limited Brian Grange said the company had always indicated the “versatility of the vessel” and because of the expansive lane meters on board, the vessel was able to “carry additional vehicles during Carnival.”

But the transportation of vehicles was just part of the sea bridge issue.

President of the Inter-island Transport Service Company Horace Amede said while the vessel had vehicle capacity, it could not carry more than 95 passengers and that is where the real problem lay.

He said the collapse of the sea bridge fell squarely to the board of the Port Authority. He said, “As head of the Truckers Association I believe that the entire Board fell down on the job and the entire board must go. They should hand in their resignations because they fell down on their job.

Amede said he was disappointed that Port chairman Allison Lewis, who “came with high credentials and as someone who could get the job done, has failed. That is a big part of the problem. She and the other members should tender their resignations. If they not doing what they supposed to do let the chips fall where they may.”

Throughout the day there were flights from Piarco to Scarborough to accommodate the number of people trying to get to Tobago. But Amede said this was still below what was required. He said in past years thousands of people, “from church groups to others would come to Tobago in their thousands for the carnival weekend. This meant a lot for the economy. But when you look at going from a vessel that could carry more than 700 people to one that can’t even carry a hundred and flights that carry just over sixty, it is a huge dent and businesses will suffer.”

The T&T Express was taken out of service last week Wednesday. According to the Port, the decision was made in the interest of passenger safety because of the high waves expected. But well placed sources told the T&T Guardian that the vessel was pulled off the route by the classification society for safety reasons.

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