Inter island ferries to sail soon
Front Page
August 31, 2007

Inter island ferries to sail soon

The waters between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean islands are expected to be churning white, as a number of fast ferry services get ready to begin operations.

Beginning as early as mid September and October, two ferry services will begin transporting cargo and passengers among the islands from as far north as St. Maarten to Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela in the south.{{more}}

The Global Steamship Agencies, based in Port of Spain, Trinidad, is expected to come on stream with its over 2500 tonne steel hull Canadian built vessel.

The ship, dubbed the ‘Caribbean Rose,’ is already in Trinidad going through its final stages of preparation, before setting sail in September.

Besides St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago, the ship is scheduled to travel to St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada and Dominica, as well as two ports in Venezuela.

It is registered here in St. Vincent, and the local agent is Perry’s Customs and Shipping Agency.

Speaking to Searchlight, local agent Perry Burke said that he, as well as the region, has been ready for the inter island ferry service to return for the longest while.

The former agent for a previous inter island ferry, the MV Windward, said that the service is not trying to compete with regional airline LIAT, but will serve as an alternative, where passengers can opt to stop off at various ports, or for persons who do not like flying.

When asked about the other service that plans to come on stream, he noted that another craft can work well along with the Caribbean Rose, and he is looking forward to honest and decent competition.

That other service mentioned is the Antigua based Palm Ferries.

A spokesperson for that company said that they too look forward to working in the region, and although the service is not competing with LIAT, it will definitely be less expensive.

Fares on these vessels may be as low as US$10 per night, depending on the destination.

The company, whose agent here is Inter Island Trading, consists of two vessels which already service some Eastern Caribbean islands, and which are scheduled to travel to St. Vincent from October 19th.

They will also service Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Martinique and St. Lucia, with more vessels expected to join the fleet in the not too distant future.

The reintroduction of inter island ferry services is expected to, among other things, boost travel and income among the various ports, but one agent believes there may be a problem when it comes to the local customs, which he considers would be inadequately equipped to handle the expected traffic.