New North West ferry being designed to carry 14 containers
The new ferry being built to sail between Georgetown and the North West District is being designed to carry 14 containers, including four refrigerated containers. It springs hope for farmers who toil the fertile lands of Region One but have struggled with getting fresh produce to Georgetown because of the long hours they usually have to endure on the ferry without proper storage.
“This project is a distinct initiative for the government of Guyana aimed at smart transportation of passengers and cargo,” said Charrandas Persaud, High Commissioner of Guyana to India at a ceremony last Saturday to mark the beginning of construction.
“This vessel will create a new benchmark in the field of passenger and cargo movement for Northwest District of Guyana,” Persaud added.
The 70 metres long, 1,700 Tonnes vessel will be propelled by 02 Caterpillar Engines and Twin Disc Gear Boxes to achieve a maximum speed of 15 Knots. Along with the containers, it will be able to carry 276 passengers and 14 crew members along with 14 cars and two trucks.
The new ferry is being built by Indian company Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) at a cost of US$12.7 million.
The ferry should be in Guyana late next year.
The Plate Cutting e-ceremony was held in the presence of High Commissioner Persaud, GRSE’s Chairman & Managing Director Rear Admiral VK Saxena, Director (Shipbuilding) Cmde S Nayyar, Director (Personnel) Cmde PR Hari, Director (Finance) RK Dash and senior officials of GRSE.
The contract with GRSE was signed with the transport and Harbours Department of Govt. of Guyana, on January 13. The Plate cutting signifies the successful completion of pre-production activities and the same has been achieved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with its share of lockdowns & restrictions.
At the signing of the contract earlier this year, High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr. K. J. Srinivasa, had noted that the building of the ferry is part of a larger US$18M grant/line of credit offered to Guyana by India.
“The Government of Guyana proposes to utilise the balance amount of US$ 18 million for the upgrade of the marine stellings that will serve this vessel. The proposal in this regard received from the Government of Guyana is being examined by the Government of India,” the High Commissioner had stated.
GRSE was the First Indian Shipyard to export a warship, an OPV to the government of Mauritius in 2015. The shipyard delivered a Fast Patrol Vessel to the government of Seychelles this year and also bagged a contract from Bangladesh for six patrol boats, again on competitive bidding.
The shipyard is currently executing five shipbuilding projects including three Advanced Stealth Frigates under Project 17A, four Survey Vessels (Large) & eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts for the Indian Navy and one Fast Patrol Vessel for the Indian Coast Guard, apart from this export ship under construction for Guyana.