M.B Sandaka to operate Guyana/Suriname ferry service
By Isanella Patoir
The M.B Sandaka will be used as the replacement vessel for the MV Canawaima as Guyana finalises the health protocol for the reopening of the Guyana/Suriname ferry service.
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill during an interview with the News Room on Wednesday, said the protocols, which will include requirements for boarding and leaving, once finalised will be made public for passengers travelling between the two countries.
It is expected that the vessel will make numerous trips per day once the service resumes on December 12.
“We are hoping it will make several trips a day that will be purely a matter driven by need, demand and economics,” Minister Edghill told the News Room.
He explained that while the M.B Sandaka is in service, the two countries will further engage the private sectors to allow for the continuation of the service.
The governments of Guyana and Suriname, after discussing the reopening of the ferry service, called for an establishment of a Board of Directors for the MV Canawaima joint venture.
Minister Edghill said Guyana has already named its board, as well as a management committee.
The MV Canawaima will be taken to the dry docks in Paramaribo, Suriname for repairs and the cost will be shared through the joint venture between the two countries.
Minister Edghill said a replacement of the bottom of the vessel was recommended as it had been sitting on mud for the past months.
“Once it is in the dry docks, the Director-General of the Guyana Maritime Administration, who is also a surveyor, will travel to Suriname along with his Surinamese counterparts, inspect the vessel and put up a report of what needs to be done,” Minister Edghill said.
After months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ferry service was given the green light to reopen in the updated COVID-19 Gazetted Order published on Monday.
The authorities in Region Six, since the beginning of the pandemic in March, were faced with illegal border crossings between Guyana and Suriname.
Without the ferry service, the alternative is using the ‘backtrack’ route to illegally enter and leave Guyana.