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Members of the board and trustees of the San Fernando Yacht Club during the unveiling of an NP pumping station at the club’s compound along Hubert Rance Street, San Fernando, on Wednesday.

Fishermen who operate just off the southwestern coastline and have complained about their struggles to get fuel for their vessels, now have a spanking new fuel station near the shoreline which allows them to dock and fuel up.

The station was opened on the compound of the San Fernando Yacht Club at Hubert Rance Street, San Fernando, on Wednesday.

Executive council member of the San Fernando Yacht Club Committee Terrance Prayag, who delivered the feature address, invited all fisherfolk and marine operators to make use of the fuel station and the nearby minimart. He said the facilities were owned wholly by the club and will alleviate much of the hardships being experienced by fisherfolk.

“Today marks a historic milestone for us. We at the San Fernando Yacht Club have been in existence for over 100 years but for the last 10 years, we have had no gas on-site for our vessels. We had to load our kegs into a van and drive to the gas station, then come back and siphon the gas into our boats, or for those who have an electric pump, to pump gas into the boats,” he explained.

He said for three years, the club worked to restore the gas station. Despite the setbacks of COVID, Prayag said they were thankful that they could now open the fuel station to the fishing community.

“This is one of many projects that the club has undertaken and we invite people to visit the club, come and see the changes, join and bring the family. It’s a family environment. Of all projects we have done, this gas station is the jewel in our crown. We have taken three years to accomplish this and we are grateful to all those who participated,” Prayag said.

He added that the gas station and mini-mart are operated by the Yacht Club.

“We are staffing and running both the gas station and minimart, so revenues will come to the club and the membership,” he said.

Prayag said they were aware of the hardships being faced by the fishing community.

“Now that the fuel station is opened, we will provide fuel to the fishing community of South and Central Trinidad. For years, fishermen have complained there is no gas station available by the sea. They usually have to take kegs in vans or pay someone,” Prayag said.

He added, “We have designated a special area for the fisherfolk and we will provide trolleys to bring kegs to pump it. This will save them a whole lot of money and time in terms of fuelling up their vessels for fishing.”

Prayag said the mini-mart will operate as a quick shoppe.

“It will provide groceries, hardware, fishing and boating supplies, lubes, hand tools and soft drinks,” Prayag added.

Meanwhile, fisherfolk said they were happy to get the fuel station on the coast.

Fisherman Daniel Downing said, “Its years we suffering because of fuel. It is stressful to have to go from gas station to gas station to look for fuel. We are happy they opened a new station. It will be convenient and we are happy for that.”