Safety in navigating Guyana’s waters is being taken more seriously, with the Guyana Government taking adequate measures to ensure all elements are in place.
This is according to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill on Saturday, as he spoke on efforts to dredge the rivers and install markers at key points.
“You will realise that we are making several trips per day. Two of the things that we have to improve on and Government is making the unnecessary investments in dredging to make sure that the ferry can move without hitting sandbanks in going and coming in. The captains could be sure that they know what’s happening. And secondly, we have to get and we are doing the beacons and the markers to ensure safety in navigation,” the Minister pointed out.
Through the Maritime Administration, Edghill said improvements are being made in all major rivers where vessels are frequently traversing.
“So, the Government of Guyana along with MARAD, which is the body that is responsible for regulating what takes place, we are working on improving that. And it’s not just in the Essequibo River. It is in the Pomeroon, the Barima, the Waini, the Berbice and the Demerara. We’re continuing to improve safety and ensuring that we can be able to get to those areas.”
Another aspect of ensuring safety has been the drydocking of vessels, since many were previously in a dilapidated state. Since this year, all of the vessels have been drydocked.
“Since this year began, all of our vessels – five of them – have gone into drydock and they have been totally rehabbed. They’re looking much better. 2022 is a big year for the Transport and Harbours Department. We’ve had the MV Kanawan, MV Sabanto, MV Malali, MV Mokouria, and MV Kimbia all going into dry dock and they’re now out,” he added.
While the ferries are now ‘attractive’, Minister Edghill expressed that persons are now interested in using them for cruises. However, he warned that there are strict guidelines for such to be granted, along with provisions in place for travellers to get to their destination.
“I have also given guidelines to the Transport and Harbours Department because we had a cruise that took place here not so long ago and everything that should not have happened, happened. I’ve indicated that the person who operated that cruise will not be allowed to operate another cruise on our vessels for a very long time. Secondly, I want to promise the people of Guyana that we will not take these vessels off and put them on a cruise to the annoyance of the travelling public.”
The new MV Ma Lisha, that was procured to service the North West District region, will be arriving by year-end. It will cut travel time by 50 per cent, with a speed at 15 knots and 500 nautical miles endurance. It has a 250-tonne cargo capacity with a six-tonne capacity crane and will be powered by two engines. (G12)