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Duke: ‘The Snail’ coming soon to seabridge

News day / Duke, while speaking at a media conference at the Public Services Association’s (PSA) Scarborough office yesterday, hinted to a new cargo vessel from Venezuela has been sought to service the interisland cargo route and which is expected to be added to the current complement.

“Stop defying the cries of Tobagonians, stop defying the cries of truckers, stop defying the cries of commerce or even that of the economic sector in Tobago.

I have received information that a particular person is about to bring a boat to serve the Tobago and Trinidad route, a boat known as the MV La Caracola. It is now in Venezuela and it has a Spanish name which when translated in English means, the snail,” Duke said.

The Minority leader pointed to the boat which was manufactured in 1985, as he noted it travels twice times slower than the Atlantic Provider.

“The boat is as old as 32 years which means it should not have been in service because for a cargo boat the maximum age is 30 years.

“The boat, based on my information, would have been scrapped last year by its European counterparts, however the Venezuelan Authorities would have bought the boat.

“Why it is referred to as the snail is that it has the capacity to travel twice as slow as the MV Provider.

“It is travelling between six and seven knots, when compared to the Superfast Galicia which was travelling at twenty one knots, you could understand the pain and suffering that sea-fearers will have to undergo, hence it is living up to its name,” he said.

Duke said that the new vessel has the capacity to carry 100 trucks, but only 12 passengers, while the draught he said, also poses some issues.

“The draught, which is like the keel is about 4 metres deep and based on the open seas, the longer the draught, the steadier the boat will maneuver the high waters.

“With such a short draught, chances are that it would be very unsteady in the open waters.

“We are saying enough is enough, the time has come for Tobagonians to be treated with dignity and if we are saying side by side we stand then let us live side by side with each other and not place us at a disadvantageous position.

“I am asking those who are trying to hurl insults and add more insult to injury, by introducing a boat that would take no less than sixteen hours to travel between Trinidad and Tobago to stop it.

“Enough is enough, this needs to stop right now,” the Minority Leader said. Additionally, with both the Trinity Transporter and the Atlantic Provider being kept on the sea route, Duke is now questioning the cost of keeping all the vessels daily.

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