The newest vessel in the national fleet of ferries, the APT James. Image courtesy the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCO)

The newly built interisland ferry the APT James stopped for a brief moment in the waters off the Port of Scarborough. Showing off its capabilities the vessel quickly made several turns in the ocean and blasted its horns before making its way to its final destination in Port-of-Spain.

A small contingent of Tobago House of Assembly (THA) officials was at the port to view the arrival of the vessel. THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis said in addition to improving the predictability and efficiency of travel between Trinidad and Tobago, the addition to the fleet would benefit tourism and trade between the islands. He said the government would also put systems in place to ensure that maintenance issues which had plagued the service in the past are not repeated.

The APT James, designed by Austal Australia and build in Vietnam, will be used to transport both vehicles and passengers at high speeds between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. It has a capacity for 926 passengers and up to 250 cars, is capable of travelling at a speed of 37.5 knots and will be able to complete the route in three hours.

The vessel was named after Alphonso Philbert Theophilus James, a famed rights activist who served in T&T’s legislative council.

It was built at a cost of US$73.55 million and is the first of two custom-built vessels purchased for the route. The second vessel, Buccoo Reef, is scheduled for delivery within the next month.