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PNM sailing on Galleons Passage

Published: 
Friday, July 20, 2018
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Communication Minister Stuart Young, centre, has the attention of Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe and Works Minister Rohan Sinanan as he answers a question during the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s yesterday. Photo by:Roberto Codallo

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan will be on the Galleons Passage’s first Tobago sailing and plans are also in the works for other Government Ministers to travel on the vessel to attend a meeting in Tobago next month.

Sinanan and Communication Minister Stuart Young confirmed this at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, signalling Government’s confidence in the vessel’s safety.

Their declarations replied to the Opposition’s challenge for Ministers to sail on the vessel before asking the public to do so. Both thrashed Opposition concerns on the vessel as “misinformation” to instil doubts on its safety.

UNC senator Wade Mark on Wednesday cited a July 2018 report on the boat by a Singapore-based Lloyd’s Register which noted 92 non-compliances and 56 issues to be verified against the requirements of the Safety of Life at Sea (1974) protocols.

Whether the report was authentic, Sinanan - who didn’t deem it “fake” - explained several documents would have been requested for a purpose before the vessel goes into service and T&T’s Maritime Service Division would examine all information, comparing information to what’s on the boat.

Sinanan said there would have been several reports, generated “at a point in time” based on information then. He said two aspects noted in the Lloyd’s Registry report - lack of flood alarm system and CCTV - were found yesterday to exist. Nidco is working with relevant agencies to ensure the boat is compliant and until Maritime certification is given it won’t operate, he added.

Sinanan assured he’ll be on its maiden Tobago voyage once the boat gets the “all-clear” to sail and he was sure some Cabinet colleagues would sail also.

Young said there wasn’t a single PNM MP who wasn’t prepared to sail on the boat following its trip from China.

“Whether we’ll all sail the same day, I’m not sure that’s logistically possible, but we were talking - as we’re having a meeting in Tobago towards end of August - and saying we’d go across on the Galleons Passage.”

Sinanan said some people are “hellbent” on ensuring the boat and seabridge doesn’t work and there’s been “experiences of alleged sabotage” with foreign objects - cloth, lemons - in other vessels’ lines, leading to a conclusion of deliberate tampering.

“My instruction to Nidco is this vessel, if we don’t put protection in and around it, it could suffer the same consequences. Nidco was asked to install CCTV cameras (for the vessel) and we asked the Port to ensure the security around all our vessels have been beefed up,” Sinanan said.

He added there are “certain characters we’re looking for” who felt they could derive benefits if the seabridge collapsed.

“We’ll ensure it’s rebuilt and whoever is responsible for putting lemons, cloth and rags in the washrooms and coming close to the vessel to do any damage, we’ll have to protect our vessel against those people.”

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