Passengers who bought tickets to sail on the Galleons Passage yesterday were fortunate to board the Buccoo Reef instead.
The newest addition to the inter-interisland fleet made its maiden commercial voyage in an impromptu trip to Tobago from 8 am and returned to Trinidad at 4 pm.
“No tickets were sold for the Buccoo Reef. Holders of Galleons passage tickets were fortunate to board the Buccoo Reef and set sail for Tobago at 8 am,” the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago’s deputy general manager Marcia Charles-Elbourne said.
The US$73.5 million catamaran was originally advertised to begin its first commercial voyage on Friday.
However, it replaced the Galleons Passage for the sailing. Charles-Elbourne said the T&T Spirit or APT James would normally run the route on Wednesdays in place of the Galleons Passage. However, yesterday it was the Buccoo Reef’s turn.
She said the four-hour transit time of the Galleons Passage, coupled with its arrival time at the port of Port-of-Spain after 8 pm, presents a challenge to the passengers and crew who need to get to their destination before 9 pm curfew begins.
“The Galleons Passage is off service, nothing is wrong with it. However, because of its four-hour journey and the curfew hours, we began running the fast ferries that take a shorter time to make the journey,” she said.
She told Guardian Media the boat’s National Infrastructure Development Company decided to use the Buccoo Reef today. The Buccoo Reef can accommodate 1,000 passengers and 182 cars.
According to the port official, the passenger/ferry fast ferry will replace the T&T Spirit, which is headed to drydock from June 5.
However, it will run at 25 per cent capacity following the Public Health Regulations set out by the government.
The Buccoo Reef joins the other passenger/ vehicle ferry, the APT James, which arrived in January 2021. The Cabo Star, a cargo vessel, also operates on the route.
According to figures from the T&T Inter-island Transportation Company Ltd, between January 1 to May 31, 2021, the passenger and cargo vessels transported 200,320 passengers and 81,659 vehicles on the interisland route.