June 18, 2014 at 9:33 a.m.

Bermuda will have to make do with current ferries and tugs

Bermuda will have to make do with current ferries and tugs
Bermuda will have to make do with current ferries and tugs

By Simon [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

There are no plans to replace any of the island’s old ferry fleet or tug boats with new vessels because it is too expensive.

This from Transport Minister Shawn Crockwel,l who told the Bermuda Sun the island will have to make do with what we have.

At present four out of six of the island’s ferry fleet is in service, while two out of three of the tugs are operational.

The aging ferry fleet has been plagued by maintenance issues, but the Minister maintained Marine and Ports were doing a ‘gallant job’ with the resources at their disposal. And he revealed that Government was currently looking to the private sector to provide “extra lift” out of Dockyard in the evenings.

Mr Crockwell said: “The ferries are old and heavily used.

“I don’t believe we have purchased once since 2006. At that time it cost $6 million. Now a new ferry would be $8 million.

“We would like to be able to purchase new ferries.

“The struggle we face is to maintain the ferries and replace engines because we can not afford to buy new ones.

“We do appreciate that from time to time there will be issues because they are old.

“But staff and Marine and Ports are doing the best they can.”

He added: “We are looking to fill the fleet manager position and we are close to doing that.

“Once that has been done there will be better organization as it related to maintenance of the ferries.

Over the last two years the ferry fleet has been bolstered by the addition of the US ferry, Millennium, which has carried thousands of passengers from Dockyard to St George’s.

But a final decision on whether Millennium could be used next year has not been made yet.

Mr Crockwell said: “The Millennium has worked very well.

“This is our last year of the two-year lease with the ferry.

“We will have to look at the state of the fleet next year when the Liberty of the Seas and the Breakaway are in port.

“Certainly at this point we have not had any discussions with the Millennium operators beyond this year.

“Ideally, in 2015, we want all six of our ferries to be running and that will involve getting a large amount of the maintenance done in the slow season.

“We will assess the Millennium at the end of the season.”

He added: “Right now, the biggest challenge is the evening ferry service as there is a call to have more lift from Dockyard to Hamilton.

“We are in talks with certain private sector entities such as boat and tour operators to see if it is possible that even by this July we could get some additional lift in the evenings to support people getting to different events.”

Asked about the possibility of bringing a new tug boat to Bermuda, Mr Crockwell said: “It’s the same as the ferries — this Ministry is operating with significant budgetary constraints.

“We have had to cut our budget and we are stretched.

“If it becomes a major issue Government will have to address it.

“At this point we have to deal with the situation as best as we can.

“There is certainly nothing on the radar to replace any of the tugs — we have to get all three up and running.” 


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The Bermuda Sun bids farewell...

JUL 30, 2014: It marked the end of an era as our printers and collators produced the very last edition of the Bermuda Sun.

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