Roban: ‘Committed To An Efficient Ferry Service’

July 11, 2012

[Updated with video] “During the past few weeks we have seen the opposition and members of the community spread unfortunate and what might be interpreted as malicious untruths about the state of the Island’s ferry fleet,” Transport Minister Walter Roban told a press conference this afternoon [July 11].

The comments come after recent cancellations of ferry service, and suggestions that the ferries may be having mechanical difficulties.

“The Sea Express ferry service is a wonderful service that has assisted with changing the transportation experience in Bermuda. It has become in some ways a victim of its own success,” said Minister Roban.

“Ferries have become such a successful and popular component of the transportation service that the vessels and associated infrastructure have been pushed beyond what they were designed for. To ensure we offered as comprehensive service to as many people as possible the ferries have been running at full steam for several years. This obviously takes a toll.”

Minister Roban continued: “The Serenity and Resolute are the oldest catamaran ferries in our fleet and they were built for a twenty year life cycle. These vessels are currently in their eleventh year well into their midway cycle so there will obviously be issues such as the need for engine rebuilding, replacement of components and so on.”

The Serenity is presently in Dockyard awaiting repairs:

“These take time and money and delays will be experienced from time to time. The work that is currently being done to these vessels in particular the Serenity will help to ensure these vessels will remain in service beyond the 20 year life cycle.”

“Let me also say that anyone who has lived in Bermuda for any length of time knows that we live in a very harsh climate. The salt laden air and high humidity wreak havoc on any metallic structures as well as electronics. The ferries are no exception.”

“Public criticism by the opposition is nothing more than an attempt to score cheap political points without offering any solutions,” the Minister said.

Minister Roban’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon and thank you for coming today.

During the past few weeks we have seen the opposition and members of the community spread unfortunate and what might be interpreted as malicious untruths about the state of the Island’s ferry fleet.

Before I address specific allegations, I wish to make a few comments about the ferry service.

The Sea Express ferry service is a wonderful service that has assisted with changing the transportation experience in Bermuda. It has become in some ways a victim of its own success.

Ferries have become such a successful and popular component of the transportation service that the vessels and associated infrastructure have been pushed beyond what they were designed for. To ensure we offered as comprehensive service to as many people as possible the ferries have been running at full steam for several years. This obviously takes a toll.

As a result of this extended use, the ferries do break down from time to time but we have a very professional team of well trained Bermudian engineers and mechanics who are dealing with these challenges.

The Serenity and Resolute are the oldest catamaran ferries in our fleet and they were built for a twenty (20) year life cycle. These vessels are currently in their eleventh (11) year well into their midway cycle so there will obviously be issues such as the need for engine rebuilding, replacement of components and so on.

These take time and money and delays will be experienced from time to time. The work that is currently being done to these vessels in particular the Serenity will help to ensure these vessels will remain in service beyond the 20 year life cycle.

Let me also say that anyone who has lived in Bermuda for any length of time knows that we live in a very harsh climate. The salt laden air and high humidity wreak havoc on any metallic structures as well as electronics. The ferries are no exception.

With regards to the repairs of Rockaway ramp I have just received a report that the ramp is now operational. It is also important to mention that Rockaway Ferry stop also has side loading capabilities purposely built for occasions when the ramp is not available. This arrangement is similar to other docks that don’t have a ramp system and are used on a daily basis.

Let me also restate the answers given to address other allegations that have been made recently.

Contrary to media reports, the catamaran ferries are insured and maintained in accordance with the technical and safety standards of Lloyds Register which provides an independent inspection regime for our vessels.

Servicing of ferries is ongoing and done in accordance with a structured schedule. However, occasionally the need for urgent repairs takes precedence over scheduled repairs.

The media have also reported on oil and coolant leaks in some ferries.

Anyone who has any experience with vessels of this size, or indeed any vessel will know that this is nothing exceptional.

Minor leaks involving coolant and oil do sometimes occur and these are rectified by mechanical staff as a matter of priority on all boats. These scenarios are not unexpected in marine public transport terms and are easily corrected by existing mechanical staff.

In a similar vein, all boats can take in water through their hull fittings and similarly encounter oil leaks from engines. Crews have the resources to manage such problems without safety or service levels being impacted.

Great care is always taken to remove bilge water, which may contain oil, from the vessels to tanks ashore for appropriate disposal.

We have also heard much about the air-conditioning systems on the vessels.

The Air-conditioning aboard the Warbaby Fox has been the source of ongoing technical challenges over the last few weeks and a short term cost-effective fix was to install a window Air-conditioner in the crew wheelhouse compartment while a replacement Air-conditioner compressor has been ordered to correct the air conditioning problem.

Public criticism by the opposition is nothing more than an attempt to score cheap political points without offering any solutions.

The Department of Marine and Ports is firmly committed to an efficient, comfortable and safe ferry transport service and we will not be distracted by a few critics spreading misinformation.

We are government about solutions and the Marine and Ports team is working right now to deal with all the ongoing issues to make sure we have and efficient, safe and successful ferry service.

Surely everyone in Bermuda can come together and do better. In the words of the Premier – Masakhane – Let us build one another together.

Thank you – I will now take questions.

-

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (28)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Articles that link to this one:

  1. Ferry Out Of Service, Forces Cancellations | Bernews.com | August 14, 2012
  1. Sandgrownan says:

    They are ferries you moron. Salt laden air? Really?

    How about preventative maintenance?

    • Dis APPOINTED says:

      You plan for this like one would ….lets say order tires for buses?

    • Swing Voter says:

      Reminds me of my Parrot….only difference is that this parrot goes to church and doesn’t curse! I recall reports from a few years ago that the Ports BIU membership refused and offer to be trained by the manufactuer’s marine engineers…..FREE OF CHARGE …..go figure.

  2. Soooo says:

    “The Air-conditioning aboard the Warbaby Fox has been the source of ongoing technical challenges over the last few weeks” “a replacement Air-conditioner compressor has been ordered to correct the air conditioning problem.”

    Weeks my A**… Maybe the minister should start riding the ferries (instead od his airconditioned GP car) then he would know how many months it’s been broken. Ain’t it funny how as soon as the complaints become a ROAR money can be found to fix problems.

    I would however point out to the minister that the sea water in the other locals where these same ferries are runnings 20-25 years (with proper maintenance) is just as salty and the enviroment just as harsh….

    Biggest load of hogwash I’ve heard in years

  3. Family Man says:

    Minister Roban continued: “The Serenity and Resolute are the oldest catamaran ferries in our fleet and they were built for a twenty year life cycle. These vessels are currently in their eleventh year well into their midway cycle so there will obviously be issues such as the need for engine rebuilding, replacement of components and so on.”

    BS
    If your car engine needs rebuilding after 5 or 6 years (half it us expected life cycle) its a pretty good indication you haven’t been doing basic maintenance.

    It seems we could only afford the repairs AFTER we found somebody to loan us $475 million. At least the government should be able to bring their fuel bills up to date now and the marine police can afford to buy gas for their boats in time for summer.

    • Octavia says:

      the oldest ferries are on the paget route and they’ve beemn running for more than 20 years.

  4. Concerned says:

    It seems the Warbaby has had this outpouring of water soon after it began operating it’s original root. Many a passenger has received the baptism of water coming and going – very embarrassing to say the least.

    Rather than blame the other side or sides – blame those that should have been on top of the problems from the first report of same.

    WHen are you going to get the buses fixed – leaking, bolts and screws missing from so many of them, the destination screens most of the destinations are seen as dots, nasty exhaust smoke and the other thing is the fines just posted for eating, behavior, dress, weapons the two highest fines should have been for BEHAVIOR and weapons.

  5. Bermy Yout says:

    Dun, Mr. Roban i would invite you to join us on the early ferry from rockaway. I used to catch this ferry every day so i could make time. now you have seriously inconvenienced myself and many others. keep up the good work guys.

  6. sharky says:

    COGWASH….!!

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    More PLP jibberish trying to explain away incompetence & fiscal waste. Those boats should not have been bought in the first place. Totally unsutable for the job & way overcrewed. Oh well, rumour has it that somebody got a very nice motoryacht out of the deal. Named it “In your Face”. Hmmmmmm….all is well.

    • Finally left! says:

      Motoryacht?? lol i heard it was a large ranch property..

      either way..you are right. Australia has a Sydney-Manly ferry that is slow as the ones we used to have… and thats a proper city ferry that has 2-3 boats…. why we need these “fast”ferries taht can only go fast from dockyard to two rock ill never know

    • Sandgrownan says:

      It is pretty much accepted it was a motoryacht. Called “Gombey Boy” or something similar my sources told me. Seen tied up our favourite government contrator’s place in TCI.

  8. Watcher says:

    So it’s not only the opposition that are spreading malicious rumours now it’s the public too??? Actually we’re just speaking the truth and that doesn’t fit your narrative. What about those busses how many of them were driving around on completely bald tyres before they were failed at TCD forcing them off the road Walter? if this Gov’t continues to try and spin this hard they will fly off the face of the earth.

  9. Tru dat says:

    Its wobbably due to wossable OBA or UBP or anyone who calls us out!

  10. TQS says:

    I had the pleasure of riding the ferries for about a month and a half. Let me say Mr Robain, your reasoning is utter rubbish. I was embarassed, as its peak tourist season and seeing the look on the peoples faces after getting off a ferry from St George’s with no air conditioning…a few weeks robain?…more like 2 months ago now. I had inconvienced cancellations on numerous occasions without much of word in some cases. After speaking to the regular, they said it was the norm…Why not carry out rotational tune ups during off season? why wait until they break down and have similar issues as last year. Robain, we have to do better than this. Stop giving excuses that don’t make sense.

  11. street wise says:

    The PLP spin is dizzying. And I find Bud a bit creepy. So I’m voting for Not-the-PLP!!

  12. Mad Dawg says:

    They’ve had maintenance problems for years. Remember Bean telling us that ferries should be scrapped and replaced every 5 years? That was 2 or 3 years ago, when he was Jr Transport Minister. That was his attempt at ‘explaining’ the maintenance problems then. M

    When they bought the ferries the manufacturers offered to send mechanics here to instruct on how to maintain them. The Union here said ‘no’, predictably. So here we are with ferries falling to pieces and there are no mechanics competent to maintain them, no funds or resources to do anything about it.

    And Bud pretends it’s a recent temporary problem. Another lie. He should resign again.

  13. Hmmmmmm says:

    Pathetic politics, from an awful PLP achieving nothing. The current PLP all over….except for Wayne..that guy is working his socks off.

  14. Piper says:

    Funny how the fast ferries were regularly championed by the plp as one of their notable successes but when others now criticise the service they are just seeking to score cheap political points!

  15. whatever says:

    Thanks Mr Roban for a little light comedy today. I needed a good laugh!

  16. Observer says:

    I have one comment on the ferries. Why is it the captain usually looks like a marine professional while the crew, for the most part, dress like they are with the boys on a day off.

    I have found this an awful example of professional crew especially catering to visitors. Can someone make them put their shirts in their pants and wear knee length socks or long pressed pants. I am surprised we accept such poor standards. Where is professional pride?

    I cannot imagine how management allows this.

  17. sooooooo says:

    Funny enough after a week of complaining… The ramp at rockaway is working…. Strange though that the public riding the ferry had to let the crew know that it was fixed… Guess the minister is as good at talking to his staff as be is the public..

  18. longtail says:

    @Piper – Actually the plp like to let you think that the original fast ferries were a plp initiative. They were not: the original ferries were ordered by the UBP but received (and subsequently maintained – need we say more!) by the plp.

  19. Tru dat says:

    Basically their stance now is stop grumbling because everything is beyond our control all our problems are caused by global recession,the hot sun, salt air and water come on every bermudian should know that seriouslly stop using Ur brains folks just vote for us and be thankful your out of work because we are all doing fine up here with our fancy suits and cars and oops sorry gotta go and rush to an overseas seminar on elephant dung! Tee hee you lot pay for dat ! I’m drinking champagne no more kool aid for me! Now where is my shopping list? There is a big mall out there I hear!

  20. I've heard it all! says:

    Metal, water, rust….Duh the best jokes of the day Mr. Robain.. rust really that’s your story?

  21. Thank God they don’t run an airline!

  22. Winnie Dread says:

    Mr Roban take my advice, when you are speaking to the public, do not talk down to us as you were doing yesterday. Stop worrying about the OBA and just do what you all are MANDATED to do by the people of this country. There are major issues with public transportation in this country and they NEED to be addressed, just get on with the job and stop finding excuses for every thing.