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Galleons Passage now due in mid-May

Published: 
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Galleons Passage will not arrive in Trinidad and Tobago until mid-May or thereabouts.

That’s the word from Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan as the vessel continues its journey en route to Acapulco, Mexico.

The Galleons Passage was initially due in Mexico on April 24, but checks yesterday on the Marine Traffic site put a new estimated time of arrival (ETA) of April 26.

Sinanan explained that because of “unforeseen delays” along the route “we expect the vessel to be here as we speak by the middle of May, if things go as they are going now. If things go different to that then it could vary.”

This contradicts information from Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who, in describing recent claims that the arrival of the vessel would have been delayed by a month as “speculative,” had given an arrival date of April 30.

Yesterday, however, Sinanan explained that when a vessel is travelling from “one end of the world to the next” it is subject to a number of vagaries, not least of which is “weather conditions and when you have the vessel going to several ports, when you enter some of these ports you have to wait in time.”

Sometimes a waiting period could be “three to four days but then for some reason or the other it might push back to six or seven days. You can’t anticipate that before,” he said.

The Galleons Passage is travelling at between 6.4 knots and 8 knots as it makes the more than 3,000 nautical mile journey from Honolulu to Mexico.

The vessel will next spend five days in Mexico for bunkering and for the crew to disembark in keeping with international regulations, which means it may not leave Mexico until May 1 or a day later.

From Mexico the Galleons Passage will head for the Panama Canal. There is also no telling how long the vessel will be in the Panama Canal before it begins the journey to Cuba.

Sinanan said, “You go to the Panama Canal and you say you have a seven-day pass through. Some people end up waiting 14 days because of the volume. But you can’t anticipate that in advance. These things do happen, but you have an approximate time and every day you assess the situation.”

The Cuba stopover is supposed to be for 10 days for a number of alterations to be done to the vessel, including the installation of a canopy over the sun deck, installation of canopies over exposed sections of the vehicle deck and installation of wash-room facilities on the sun deck.

Sinanan said while there has been “some unforeseen situations” affecting the vessel, which needed to get “permits to enter certain ports” and it will take “a little longer than we expect,” he was optimistic it will get to Trinidad and Tobago by mid-May.

Meantime, Sinanan said NIDCO has gone out for tender for a “technical maintenance management team” to ensure the Galleons Passage and the T&T Spirit are well maintained.

The T&T Spirit returned to the seabridge yesterday and made its first run from the Port of Scarborough in just under three hours. It left Scarborough at 6.38am and arrived at the Port of Port-of-Spain at 9.25 am.

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