July 2, 2010
New fast 150-foot ferry for Grenadines

Vincentians will soon have a more reliable, comfortable, efficient and faster way to travel, thanks to a new fast ferry service that should hit the waters over the next two weeks or so.{{more}}

Jaden Sun is the latest addition to the ferries which commute to the Grenadine Islands and will afford commuters the opportunity to travel from mainland St Vincent to Bequia, Union Island and Canouan and return to the mainland on the same day.

The boat’s owners, Elvis and Cashena Gooding of the Admirality Transport Company Ltd., say because of the comfort and speed of the vessel, passengers will feel as though they’re travelling on a plane.

The 150-foot vessel out of Norway seats 230 persons at full capacity and has a maximum speed of 34 knots. The Jaden Sun also provides a fully air-conditioned, comfortable seating area for passengers. In case of an emergency, the vessel is equipped with life jackets under each seat.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week, Elvis explained that the project has been over eight months in the making, which he explained took a lot of hard work.

The ferry will travel to Bequia, Union Island and Canouan and back to St Vincent on the same day, Mondays to Fridays.

The Goodings, who are also the owners of ferries: Admiral 2 and Jaden T, say they saw the need for a more efficient way of travelling for Vincentians and that was the catalyst that influenced their decision to have another vessel.

“When we started back in 1986 with Admiral, it was only just the ferry Friendship Rose, which only catered for Bequia people,” they said.

Today, persons travelling to Union Island or Canouan can’t return same day via ferry. That is, however, a thing of the past. “We offer a service that leaves St Vincent at 9am to the three connecting Grenadine islands and you can be back to mainland by 4:30pm,” Cashena explained.

Cashena made it clear that Jaden Sun is not a cargo vessel and will only cater for persons with a small quantity of luggage.

“We want persons to be in as much comfort as possible while they travel to their destinations much more quickly,” she said.

It is also hoped that the Jaden Sun will extend its services to neighbouring island St Lucia.

“If we try and it and works out, then we would probably make runs to St Lucia every week,” Elvis said. He added that this is also a great way of promoting tourism as persons may just want to see the country for just a day and return to their homeland.

Also in the pipeline are plans to connect to Grenada via the Carriacou route.

The couple extended their gratitude to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the duty-free concessions extended to them for this project.