Construction has started in India on the massive US $12.7 million ferry that is expected to ply the Georgetown to North-West route, according to a press release from the Indian High Commission in Guyana.
The High Commission stated that a delegation from the Transport and Harbours Department of Guyana’s Ministry of Public Works visited Kolkata, India where the keel-laying ceremony for the vessel was held on November 20. This keel-laying ceremony signals the start of the ship’s construction.
The ferry is being constructed under a US $8 million grant and US $10 million Line of Credit assistance from the Government of India. Subsequently, the ferry will be used in the North-Western region as well as the South-Western region of Guyana up to Kwakwani, Berbice River.
The contract for the construction of the ferry was awarded to one of India’s leading shipyards- Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited. In January, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill said the company will be required to build and deliver the fully functional vessel to Guyana within 18 months.
The keel-laying ceremony of the ocean-going vessel was reportedly conducted in the presence of Director-General of the Maritime Administration Department of Guyana (MARAD) Captain Stephen Thomas, Charge D’affaires at the High Commission of Guyana in India Ronalda Edwards-Horatio and the Chairman and Managing Director of GRSE Rear Admiral (Ret’d) VK Saxena. Directors of GRSE and other senior officials of GRSE and Transport & Harbours Department were also present.
According to the press release, the 70 metres-long vessel, with a displacement of 1700 tonnes, is propelled by two diesel engines and twin disc gearboxes to achieve a maximum speed of 15 Knots.
The ship has been fully designed by the GRSE design teams and can accommodate 294 passengers (including 14 crew members) along with 14 cars, 02 trucks, and 14 containers & cargo. The design has been accomplished by the in-house design team of GRSE and incorporates enhanced safety and operational features.