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The Cabo Star loaded with vehicles heading to Tobago in February.

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The Cabo Star will remain as the cargo vessel in operation along on the seabridge between Trinidad and Tobago for an additional two years.

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan confirmed the renewal of the vessel’s contract at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing but said its daily lease cost had been reduced in the new contract.

“NIDCO went to Bridgeman, the owners of the Cabo Star, which was the preferred suppliers, one of the shortlisted suppliers and they had a reduction in their price so at this point in time, this morning Cabinet have accepted the recommendation from NIDCO that we renew the contract for the Cabo Star for a further two years at a reduced rate of $16,000 US per day,” said Sinanan, who explained this was $5,000 less than the current $21,000 per day contract.

This arrangement was made after the Government’s deal with Stena RoRo was cancelled after that company told NIDCO they could no longer provide a vessel at an already agreed price. NIDCO similarly could not finalise deals with the second and third-choice tenders and reopened negotiations with Bridgeman for use of the Cabo Star. Sinanan said the new deal was even more favourable than the one agreed.

“When you consider the rate of the MV Kerry, which was the preferred at the time, it was $20,500. The provider then sent a letter indicating to NIDCO that they cannot do it for less than $23,300 so NIDCO terminated the negotiations with them,” he said.

He said the seabridge should expect the arrival of a new APT James vessel in November, while another vessel to service the route will arrive in the first quarter of 2021.

“All indications are that the vessels are on track at this point in time and we look forward to the arrival of the first vessel, the APT James, sometime later on this year,” Sinanan said.