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Cabo Star goes on dry dock

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Cabo Star goes on dry dock

Cabo Star goes on dry dock

The Tobago sea bridge’s Cabo Star cargo vessel went into scheduled dry docking yesterday after a large last minute rush by businesspeople to send trucks to the sister isle in recent days. This, since no alternative cargo vessel will be in place during the vessel’s dry docking.

Port Authority CEO Vilma Lewis-Cockburn spoke about the situation around 4 pm yesterday, just as the Cabo Star left Port- of-Spain to head for the Caridoc facility in Chaguaramas. It will undergo scheduled dry docking scrutiny for the next 10 days until September 30.

Lewis-Cockburn said, “Last month, we advised stakeholders including truckers that prior to the dry docking, the Port would put on four additional sailings on Saturdays so people can send across extra goods to stock up enough supplies during the 10 days the vessel would be on dry dock.

“However during those additional sailings we had very low figures responding to use the sailings. We had 25 trucks, one Saturday, 37, another weekend and 59 also—it was really underutilised.

“But in the last few days before the vessel went on dry dock, we got a ‘million’ trucks lining up to go across—last minute rush. There were so many the vessel left late from Tobago and Port-of-Spain. I still have people calling to get things sent across, but when we had the additional service, they didn’t use it—we gave everyone ample opportunity to organise.”

Since no alternative cargo vessel is being provided during Cabo Star’s absence, perishable and light trucks will be transported to Tobago on the daily sailing of the T&T Spirit. But heavy items such as bricks and likewise would not be transported, she added.

The Tobago Chamber is keeping an eye peeled on the seabridge’s cargo operation in the Cabo Star absence.

Chamber vice chairman Martin George said, “We remain tremendously concerned there’s no provision for an alternative cargo service especially with the upcoming long Republic day holiday weekend and the impact the lack of a cargo vessel will have on Tobago, its businesspeople, holiday makers and others.”

Noting the Government’s attempts to secure four vessels for the seabridge, Galleon’s Passage, a leased replacement for the T&T Express and two Australian ferries ahead, George added.

“Despite the multitude of promises, assurance and attempts to assauge the travelling public, the reality is that as yet, there’s no consistent, reliable, adequate service to meet the needs of people wishing to transport goods and vehicles. We’re days away from the 2019 Budget and this albatross remains around the nation’s neck.”

Cabo Star goes on dry dock

By: Gail Alexander

Guardian Newspaper Trinidad and Tobago

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