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Govt eyes more Aussie ferries for seabridge

Published: 
Friday, April 27, 2018
T&T Spirit

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says plans are afoot to obtain new ferries from Australia to replace the aged and malfunctioning vessels that have been serving the seabridge.

During his visit to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last week, Rowley said he held discussions with Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “with respect to any possibility of getting Australian help in procuring new ferries to replace the ferries that we have which now came from Australia.”

He said if we can get Australian help on a “government-to-government basis” to acquire new vessels, so the problems the travelling public and Tobagonians faced in the last year would not be repeated.

“So the Government is currently looking ahead with respect to ordering new vessels,” he said, noting the T&T Spirit and T&T Express have a limited sea life.

The T&T Spirit, which recently came out of dry docking, has been plagued with a number of issues since then, including a ruptured hydraulic hose, a faulty cooling pump and a malfunction of the radar system, which all attributed to a delay in the service.

The T&T Spirit was taken out of service on June 6, 2017 for maintenance works. It was hoped that the vessel would have returned to the sea bridge before the other ferry, the T&T Express was taken into dry dock.

On March 13, the sea bridge collapsed when the T&T Express was taken out of service and the T&T Spirit failed to return because of its maintenance work was incomplete.

The Galleon Passage which was purchased at US$17.4 million was expected to arrive in our shores from China at the end of this month has now been delayed by two weeks.

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