-some stellings for repair
The Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) of the Works Ministry plans to spend $422 million rehabilitating various transport vessels around Guyana and $62 million revamping the Parika, Leguan, Wakenaam and Supenaam stellings this year.
Several transport vessels are slated to be rehabilitated, docked, and rerouted when the finances passed for the T&HD in the 2014 budget are made available. $255.9 million has been provided to complete the rehabilitation of the MV Makouria and the MV Malali. Both vessels will, at separate times, be docked to facilitate the rehabilitative works.
According the T&HD Head Marcelene Merchant, the Malali is scheduled to undergo major works, to the hull in particular and other areas of its structure. The engine, she explained, was recently overhauled and so the vessel is not expected to stay docked for more than a month.
The Malali usually transports people and goods between Parika, Wakenaam and Leguan, and while it is down the Makouria, which plies the Parika-Bartica route will be responsible for servicing all three areas.
The MV Sabanto and the MV Kanawan, which both ply the Parika-Supenaam route, are also scheduled for rehabilitative works this year.
Merchant said these vessels will be down for three weeks to a month each but will be docked one at a time. She said that by the time the first of these vessels is ready for docking the MV Malali will be fully rehabilitated and will assist in plying the Parika-Supenaam route.
The MV Bonasika is scheduled for an official docking this year even though Merchant disclosed that an emergency situation forced the vessel into the docks last year for repairs. She said that the hull of the vessel was badly in need of repairs and so the decision was taken to dock it earlier than scheduled.
Nevertheless, the vessel was not officially docked and merchant said that T&HD regulations require the vessel to be docked once more this year. However, because most of the major works required were already done last year the vessel is not expected to be down for a significant period of time. $165 million is provided to carry out whatever retooling works the Bonasika requires and also purchase spare parts.
New vessel for the North West District
Merchant also referred to plans to acquire a vessel to ply the North West route. She said the vessel, which is to be supplied from India, will take over the northwest route currently serviced by the MV Kimbia. Merchant said that the Kimbia will then return to the Berbice River to commence servicing the community there.
Meanwhile, T&HD wants to retire the MV Lady Northcote which currently plies the Georgetown-Kaituma route. According to Merchant, T&HD is working to repair the MV Barima, which is expected to replace the Northcote.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned stellings, and several others, have been in a less-than-ideal state for some time and it is expected that government’s intention to rehabilitate at least of some of them will be welcomed by those who depend heavily on the facilities for transporting them and their goods.
Works Minister Robeson Benn told Stabroek News last week that the four stellings were earmarked for repairs because of the level of deterioration which characterizes them, and the fact that people are heavily dependent on them to transport heavy cargo and other crucial goods including rice, sugar, cement, minerals and other food products.
It is imperative, the minister said, that the stellings be able to safely accommodate the traffic which they see on a daily basis.
Asked why other stellings, including the Vreed-en-Hoop and Georgetown stellings, are not also slated for such repairs, Benn explained that the ministry cycles through stellings each year in order to identify the ones which are more in need of repair work.
Nevertheless, he said that other facilities such as the Vreed-en-Hoop stelling will be targeted for minor repair work.
Merchant said that work on the four stellings will commence just as soon as the money is made available. The budget has just been passed, she noted, and predicted that the money should be passed in time for work to commence in July. Meanwhile, the necessary documentation is being drawn up.