Black Immigrant Daily News
The MV Cabo Star. FILE PHOTO – SUREASH CHOLAI
ALMOST one week after ramps used for docking developed issues, the Port Authority (PATT) announced on Friday morning that the issue has been resolved.
PATT chairman Lyle Alexander apologised to all affected stakeholders in Tobago and Trinidad, during a media briefing on Friday morning, for inconveniences caused by the vessel’s inability to sail over the past five days. He further thanked the truckers for their leniency.
Newsday understands some of Tobago’s large steel bands have been parked near the port for the past three days waiting for the Cabo Start to take the instruments over so panmen can participate in Sunday’s Panorama semi-finals.
The vessel left the Port of Spain Port just after 6 am Friday.
Despite the recent disruptions, Alexander said he remains confident that the Cabo Star is capable of efficiently meeting its demand.
“If one wishes to say – as an excuse – the age of the vessel and say they want another vessel. That is an understandable position. However, what I can say is there are considerations for a new cargo on the run. There is no firm decision on that. Until such time, the Cabo Star is adequate to satisfy the needs we have in Tobago.”
At the briefing, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan assured his ministry is in the final phase of putting together requirements for tenders for a new cargo vessel.
Last week, the vessel went into dry dock for three days after the ramp developed issues. Work was supposed to be completed on Monday night so operations could resume on Tuesday.
However, the maintenance crew onboard the vessel informed PATT that it would need another day for all repairs to be completed.
Vilma Lewis-Cockburn, deputy CEO, TT Interisland Transportation Co explained, “It happened that another delay was requested and that continued until yesterday (Thursday) and into this morning until the ramp was actually completed.”
This caused traffic congestion along Wrightson Road leading into the port and around Gardenside Road in Scarborough.
During the Cabo Star’s downtime, PATT said it accommodated all perishable items to and from Tobago on the fast ferries.
Asked about the backup plan for when the vessel goes on scheduled dry dock for routine maintenance, he said, “We will work with all that we have when that arises. If we don’t think we have sufficient to provide the level of support we want we will make a request for the shifting of the date.”
He said the fast ferries are capable of supporting the Cabo Star and could fill any unforeseen gaps.