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T&T Spirit still on dry dock

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The T&T Spirit remains on dry dock and final repairs on the vessel are yet to be completed.

Port officials who spoke with the T&T Guardian are optimisic that it will be back on the seabridge soon saying “the work is almost completed and it should be out soon.”

The T&T Spirit went on dry dock in June last year and a price tag of TT$8million has already been put on the repairs undertaken. Sources said that the amount of money being spent to repair the vessel would be more.

In January, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley met with stakeholders in Tobago and indicated that “the Spirit which has been on dry dock for quite some time is expected to do some sea trials next month and hopefully if the sea trials go well it will be back into service and that will plug the hole there.”

But no sea trials were done up to yesterday on the vessel. The T&T Express, the lone vessel on the seabridge, was taken out of service for more than a week after it failed to get an extension on class certificates during the carnival period. It eventually returned to service last Saturday, but that extension is only until early March.

Insiders say it is critical that the T&T Spirit return to the route before then.

The T&T Guardian understands that Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan met with members of the Board of the port Authority on Monday. The seabridge issue was discussed.

We are told that Port officials assured that work is continuing apace and there is a sense of optimism that the vessel will be back out before month end, in time for the T&T Express to go on dry dock. One source indicated that the vessel may be put back into service on three engines, which means that it will operate at a slower pace.

Stakeholders in Tobago told the Guardian that it is “unacceptable” that Tobago continues to be treated this way and even if the T&T Spirit returns it will again be “only one vessel on the route. That is not what is required for a proper service.”

Efforts to contact Port Chairman Allison Lewis proved futile.

Meanwhile, checks indicated that the Galleons Passage remains docked in Guangzhou China and there is no word from Finance Minister Colm Imbert when the vessel will leave. On February 15, Imbert indicated that Chinese New Year celebrations had delayed the process for acquiring the required permits for trans-Pacific ocean travel and Panama Canal.

Those celebrations he said would be in one week after which the Galleons Passage will travel 11,000 nautical miles from Hong Kong to Port-of-Spain.


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