After eight months of only air transportation in and out of the island, Montserrat will once again have in place a ferry service.
A contract was signed on Thursday, November 25th, between the Government of Montserrat (GoM) and the owner and captain of Jaden Sun, Mr Elvis Gooding. The service will commence officially on December 2nd, 2016, and will continue over the next ten months in the first instance.
During a short signing ceremony, and press conference held at the conference room of the Cabinet Secretariat in Brades; Montserrat’s Premier , Hon Donaldson Romeo, highlighted the benefits of this ferry in comparison to the previous service offered by the Caribe Sun.
The Island’s leader is pleased that Jaden Sun is able to dock at Port Plymouth, which the previous service was unable to do, especially during periods of high seas. The ferry is also double-decked and can carry up to sixty-eight more passengers than Caribe Sun. The Montserratian leader also indicated his delight that his government will now have more control over the ferry and its operations than before.
In highlighting the specifications and operations of the ferry service, Owner and Captain of the Jaden Sun, Vincentian, Elvis Gooding indicated that “he is an on time man” while sighting this as a principle for good service.
Captain Elvis has been in the ferry service business since 1983, and presently operates two ferry services between St. Vincent and Grenadines – one of which is the Jaden Sun – which will officially end its operations on November 29th in that territory.
Travel between Montserrat and Antigua is now estimated to last just over an hour based on weather conditions. Passengers will be allowed 2 bags with every extra bag at an additional cost of $50EC.
Acting Access Coordinator Leandre Tuitt, during the press conference, stated that there will be some changes to the day tour system.
Under the new arrangement, day tours operate Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday. This shift is being made so as to better target cruise ship passengers from neighbouring island, Antigua.
Ms. Tuitt also announced that changes are being made to the number of days the ferry runs, adding an extra day, making it six as opposed to five by the previous operator.
An online booking system will also be in place by January 2017, but in the meantime, persons can book their travel at the ferry terminal in Antigua.
The new ferry service is expected to boost Montserrat’s declining economy, which was severely affected by the absence of the regular ferry service.