Two new ferries should go into service between Cruz Bay and Red Hook within 30 days, Public Works Commissioner Darryl Small said Wednesday.
The two new ferries were originally expected to begin shuttling between St. John and St. Thomas in December but, in a news release issued Wednesday by Government House, Smalls said that obtaining the necessary insurance and regulatory approvals for the two new ferries has taken longer than anticipated.
Smalls met Jan. 22 with representatives of both ferryboat franchises, Transportation Services and Varlack Ventures, to discuss the timeline for placing the two into service.
The discussion centered on insurance policies for the new ferries, the management service agreement, and the final inspection and certification requirements that must be completed prior to the maiden voyages of Red Hook I and Cruz Bay I.
“While the initial plan was to have these vessels in service by December 2013, obtaining the requisite insurance and securing the necessary approvals from the regulatory agencies took longer than anticipated,” Smalls said Wednesday. He added that the department and the operators remain committed to ensuring the timely completion of all of the prerequisite requirements to obtain full compliance and certification that will ensure the safety of passengers and crew as well as the vessels.
“I am anticipating that, once these requirements have been met, the vessels will be placed into service … within the next 30 days,” Smalls said.