During one of the busiest seasons of the year with Tobagonians praying for the Tobago economy to improve after suffering the collapse of the sea-bridge, this Government is once more taking Tobago to the brink by crashing the sea-bridge again. The Government refused to heed the warnings of concerned citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who cited the unsuitability of the Galleons Passage to service the sea-bridge between Trinidad and Tobago. The Galleons Passage which was designed to sail in calm, sheltered waters, continues to demonstrate that it is not able to withstand the sea conditions that exists between Trinidad and Tobago.
The “brand-new” Galleons Passage having made its maiden voyage some 2 months ago, has encountered multiple issues while servicing the sea bridge. Two weeks after its maiden voyage the vessel encountered electrical issues during one of its sailings with passengers and cargo on board, resulting in one of its engines having to be shut down. In November, the vessel encountered significant mechanical problems twice. On Wednesday of this week, the Galleons Passage has once again proven to be unsuitable as it was forced to turn around mid-voyage and to return to Trinidad. Once again passengers were inconvenienced and traumatized and there was consequential loss of manpower and disturbance to businesses.
Notwithstanding that no rough seas bulletin was issued the Galleon Passage was forced to turn around due to “severe weather conditions”. However, we saw from a much- circulated recording on social media that the skies were clear and the seas calm. If in fact rough seas existed, as claimed by the NIDCO and the Port Authority, it would have been totally unacceptable to allow the vessel to sail in those conditions. Is it that this PNM government cares nothing for the safety of our citizens?
During the Christmas period to the Easter period, the seas between Trinidad and Tobago typically becomes rough and if the Galleons Passage is unable to traverse these waters, this will result in more cancellations of sailings which will cause more hardship to passengers, businesses and Trinbagonians using the sea-bridge. At the same time, the TT Spirit is off the sea-bridge indefinitely for repairs. Trinbagonians can brace for an unacceptable and continuing collapse of the sea-bridge between Trinidad and Tobago during the busy Christmas, Carnival and Easter periods.
The Government through its incompetence and arrogance has wasted over $120 Million dollars in acquiring by “happenstance” this “brand-new” vessel which is totally unsuitable to service the sea-bridge. This Government has failed to put any contingency measures in place to ensure the sustainability and functionality of the sea- bridge. I have repeatedly said that the Galleons Passage is not fit for use on the sea- bridge. It is the wrong vessel procured by Ministers who do not know a pirogue from a cruise liner. It is clear that we will spend millions of dollars on repairs to this brand-new vessel which is already failing us. The travelling public between Trinidad and Tobago deserve better.
Senator Saddam Hosein