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The APT James.

Loyse Vincent

The APT James made its first commercial sailing to Tobago this morning formalising its status as the latest passenger vessel to join the fleet of vessels on the interisland route.

The APT James left Trinidad at around 7:00 am and arrived at approximately 10 am with 348 passengers and 134 vehicles on board.

While they were among the first few to enjoy luxury seating in the first-class section or the spacious economy section, patrons also reported that all services were up and running including the concession and bar area as well as the information desk. Several people also rated the vessel’s ability to handle rough waters.

One passenger Ingrid Beckles from Trinidad, said she travels to Tobago often on the ferries and this sailing was much smoother when compared to the other ferries.

“Actually it was good you know although the sea was rough it was a lot smoother than I experienced two weeks ago when I was very sick on the same trip so yeah it was a good sailing.”

Another traveller Alwin La Fluer of Tunapuna Trinidad described the APT James experience as “very good” although the water was a little choppy.

Clayton Clarke from Tobago was also among the passengers to disembark the vessel. He factored in the seasonal conditions into his assessment.

“This time of year is known for rough seas so that has to be taken into consideration so the ride was a little rough, but other than that everything was good.”

The vessel was commissioned on January 21, and during the formal commissioning ceremony, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley urged the persons employed on the APT James to each play their role to protect and maintain the vessel. He also asked that security be increased to “prevent attempts to sabotage the vessel.”

Passengers were also asked to say what stood out for them the most during the experience for some it was the ambience, other’s however rated the customer service on the vessel. One of those persons was Christopher Roberts, originally from Trinidad.

“The workers on the boat…they were very polite they were very well spoken well-mannered is the first time I’m travelling on this boat to Tobago and it was a very great experience I will say the taxpayers dollars were well spent.”

The other passenger vessel the Buccoo Reef was scheduled the join the APT James on the route at the end of February, however on January 26, the ferry was forced to return to Australia after alarms were triggered on the vessel.

Guardian Media tried to reach out to the NIDCO Chairman Herbert George for an update on the status of the Buccoo Reef, however, calls to his mobile went unanswered.