Additional $1.6M Needed For Ferry/Tug Service

September 29, 2017

The Department will require an additional $1.6 million to enable the Ferry and Tug Boat Services to meet service level schedules for the remainder of the 2007/18 fiscal year, Minister of Transportation Walter Roban said in the House of Assembly today [Sept 29].

Minister Roban said this is “as a result of a number of inter-related factors,” including the cost of the extra ferries over the America’s Cup and the leasing of the Rhode Island Millennium Ferry.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr Speaker, I rise today in this House to report on the Department of Marine & Ports Services. Unfortunately, right now the Department requires additional funding for the year, which, if it is not addressed, would leave Bermuda’s marine fleet service unable to properly serve the island’s residents and visitors alike. This is as a result of a number of inter-related factors.

Marine & Ports Services is a key department within Bermuda’s transport structure. The Department is essential to all our shipping; transports commuters and visitors on the water from St George’s, to Sandy’s and all throughout the island; and, manages aids to navigation and all matters related to activity on Bermuda waters.

America’s Cup

In respect of the funding shortfall, first, there is the factor of the America’s Cup event this year, which required additional passenger lift between Dockyard, Hamilton and St. George’s.

This resulted in an additional ferry boat schedule in May and June of this year, which operated in conjunction with the normal full service ferry schedule. The two schedules combined to all but exhaust the Department’s budget allocation in the areas of Fuel, Inventory, and Overtime.

During the America’s Cup event, the Department of Marine & Ports Services operated a total of nine [9] ferries at the weekend compared with the normal summer schedule of four [4] week day ferries and [2] weekend ferries.

The additional lift caused an excessive burden on these budget items. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that, unfortunately, the Department did not have additional funding in its budget to cover the expense of the America’s Cup.

I pause here, Mr Speaker, to commend the Marine & Ports staff, who performed to a very high standard throughout the America’s Cup, and received many well deserved kudos for their hard work and professionalism.

However, the America’s Cup was only one factor to take into consideration with respect to the Department’s shortfall.

Leasing Millennium Ferry

A second factor was the leasing of the Rhode Island Millennium Ferry for a fifth year in a row, which caused a further drain on the funding resources of Marine & Ports.

Mr Speaker, you will recall the Millennium Ferry was originally leased to assist with passenger lift from Dockyard to St George’s during a period when the Marine & Ports ferry fleet was to undergo major maintenance by way of a required mid-life refit.

Except it appears the maintenance did not take place until this past winter when a portion of the required work was carried out, some five years after the Millennium was first brought to Bermuda.

[So far, these ‘catch up’ repairs have cost the Bermuda Government two million, four hundred and eighteen thousand, four hundred and thirty-five dollars [$2,418,435] in materials, parts and labour.]

To meet the expenses of the Millennium Ferry, the Department was allocated eight hundred and sixty-two thousand dollars [$862,000] in the current fiscal year.

However, actual costs will be approximately one million five hundred thousand dollars [$1,500,000] for the six month period.

This amount consists of the ferry’s base contract price of one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars [$1,250,000] together with crew travel costs, housing, fuel, international crew wages and vessel delivery fees.

To meet a contractual obligation with respect to an installment payment in June of this year, the Department completed a budget virement that transferred funds from the very areas – Fuel, Inventory, and Overtime – now impacted by the budget shortfall.

Mr Speaker, given the total cost of the Millennium Ferry to Bermuda by the end of this year will be approximately seven million nine hundred and thirty-three thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight dollars [$7,933,728], one can argue we should have simply purchased a new ferry ourselves.

Operational Budget

Third, and this gets to the crux of the matter, for the fiscal year 2017/18, the Department of Marine & Ports Services received an operational budget allocation of twenty million ninety-seven thousand one hundred and thirty-eight dollars [$20,097,138], this represents an increase of just one percent [1%] over the prior year’s budget allocation of nineteen million nine hundred thousand dollars [$19,900,000], which itself proved inadequate to meet the demands of the marine fleet during the 2016/17 fiscal year.

A combination of the above factors means the current year’s budget allocations for Fuel, Inventory and Overtime are now largely depleted, and we have more than half of the budget year left. The funds have been spent on the America’s Cup and the Millennium Ferry.

Department Will Require Additional Funding

Therefore, Mr Speaker, Honourable Members are being informed the Department will require additional funding in the amount of one million six hundred and seventy-four thousand four hundred and forty dollars [$1,674,440]. This is absolutely necessary to enable the Ferry and Tug Boat Services to meet service level schedules for the remainder of the 2007/18 fiscal year.

The funds cannot be obtained elsewhere in the Department’s or Ministry’s budget allocation and, as such, a Supplementary Estimate has already been placed before the House.

Although, like other government departments, Marine & Ports has experienced extensive vacancies as a result of retirement, resignation and the hiring freeze, in addition to having newly established posts linked to the approved re-organisation of the Department, it is critical for the Department to maintain its marine fleet in an optimal condition.

A programme of maintenance and repair is required for the fleet to keep its Lloyds of London class certification. Falling out of class is not an option. Additionally, with the Millennium Ferry contract coming to an end this year, it is imperative the existing fleet be properly maintained, with repairs taking place in a timely manner.

Mr Speaker, going forward, I am pleased to report Marine & Ports can satisfy its service obligations to the Bermuda community with its existing fleet, which is fully operational now.

The Department is recruiting the staff needed to ensure it retains the necessary class certification with a regular maintenance and repair programme. The future looks good for the Department of Marine & Ports Services.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

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Comments (16)

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  1. DarkStar says:

    Every ferry used to transport people to and from America’s Cup had tickets sold which should have been a profit to somebody—-how about telling us where the money from the passenger tickets went??? Seriously nearly every ferry was close to or was sold out—–the ferry service has never ferried the amount of people it did in May and June 2017 and the passengers paid—WHERE IS THE MONEY WALTER??????

  2. Politricks says:

    Three questions:

    - Given that the ferry services for the AC were not free, how much did the ferries generate from their services? Why hasn’t this additional revenue been taken into account?

    - Given that it was revealed that the AC budget was approximately $8mn under budget from the original allocation of funds, why is a supplementary budget required when this $1.6mn can be included as part of the AC budget and thus covered by the excess funds?

    - Thirdly, given the fact that that the majority of funds were used to pay overtime to Government workers, why is the PLP trying to make this out as it being wasted? Aren’t they the Party of labor?

    • jt says:

      Apparently it’s all very complicated. Jets over heads type thing.
      Either that or just more music for the base to dance to.

  3. DarkStar says:

    Leasing a ferry from the USA—–There is a contract–how does the expense double when there is a contract—Seriously WALTER, show us the figures, was the lease done and signed and now the operators/owners of the Millennium ferry are asking for more money??? Also come the end of October do we really need this ferry-the cruise ships basically stop so who is this boat ferrying around???

    • Seniors says:

      The RI ferry is going back for good at the end of this season.

  4. DarkStar says:

    Walter—–you are asking for money when there is no money, where do you and your colleagues expect to get the money that you are asking???

  5. Fisherman says:

    No maintenance even when the ferries were new – wonder why? Problems with A/C – water pouring all over passengers – ridiculous. If Lloyds hadn’t said anything ferries would be in worse state and that was during PLP’s time. Warbaby was taken away from the East months after it was named and blessed only to be replaced with a smaller ferry and later no ferry until the Boston Ferry. The walkway systems were left to cease up and rust.

  6. jaden says:

    there is no money folks suck it up the PLP cannot do magic they are illusionists but no magic tricks………. ps still waiting on the 100 day promises to happen tick tick tick……

  7. It's only just begun says:

    Maybe this only makes sense to me. But if we are going to order new buses, wouldn’t they end up in the same condition as the current ones if the garage is under staffed or under qualified. With the most respect.
    Might it make more sense to try and bring in a few mechanics used to the buses we have ?

  8. O.M.G says:

    This all boiled down to each government department not doing what there jobs entail to many chiefs and not enough Indians I suggest that all departments need to have an overhaul and a clean out . I really don’t understand why these ferries, buses are not being fixed. So why did we get vehicles that we cant get parts and how old were the ferries when the first arrived to this island because I and sure the were refurbish second hand vehicles that’s why we have had so many problems with them

  9. Bill says: