Is the soon to arrive fast ferry the APT James a brand new vessel, and if so, why is a report stating that this new vessel is sailing with a number of troubling issues?
This was the query made by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, during last night’s UNC meeting to launch the party’s campaign for the January 25 local government election.
Persad-Bissessar said she had in her possession a copy of an inspection document from Malta, which states that on inspection not one or two deficiencies were identified but a total of six deficiencies were found on the APT James.
“She said “When the vessel was in Malta and gone through inspections, we expected a brand-new half-a-billion-dollar vessel would have been free from any deficiencies.”
“Defects range from a lack of proper certification and documents to missing fire safety equipment and a lack of proper structural access points to vital areas of the ship. It was even discovered the electronic charts that assist the navigation of the vessel was outdated and did not conform to current maritime codes.”
The report also showed the emergency system muster list was incomplete and fire detection/alarm system missing.
Persad-Bissessar said “The fact these deficiencies exist at all in what is supposed to be a brand-new ferry demonstrates the lack of attention to detail that went into preparing the ship before it was sent to T&T. This was a Government-to-Government arrangement which is no longer subject to the Procurement law. They can make these big purchases without any oversight.”