The Buccoo Reef, the newest ferry in the national fleet servicing the seabridge between Trinidad and Tobago. Image courtesy INCAT Tasmania.

The latest ferry in the national fleet, the Buccoo Reef, reportedly has encountered a few challenges on her journey home to Trinidad and Tobago, according to a statement issued today by NIDCO, the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited.

NIDCO is reporting in its release that alarms on the vessel were triggered some 398 nautical miles from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, the manufacturing hub. 

“While the technical assessment concluded that the journey could have continued, NIDCO decided that the vessel should return to Hobart—it being the closest port of call—to investigate these occurrences and take the necessary corrective action to prevent their recurrence,” NIDCO’s release states.

It added: “The builder, INCAT Tasmania Pty Ltd, along with the original engineering equipment manufacturers are troubleshooting and resolving the associated issues.  NIDCO has requested a test of major systems upon completion of these activities before the vessel resumes its journey to Trinidad.”

The Buccoo Reef had left Hobart on Thursday 21 January 2021, to begin its journey home to T&T of some 9,266 nautical miles.  That journey has only two stops—the first being Pape’ete, French Polynesia; and the second at the Panama Canal in Panama.

The ferry originally was scheduled to arrive in March 2021.

About the Buccoo Reef

The vessel was built by Australian shipbuilder INCAT Tasmania at its shipyard in Hobart, Australia.

INCAT began construction on Buccoo Reef in 2019.  The company says the new 100-meter, high speed ferry (Wave Piercing Catamaran) has been retrofitted with state-of-the-art electronic systems.

The ship will have an operating speed of over 40 knots, which reduces the sailing time with an increased number of crossings per day, and allowing for same day travel, thus improving inter-island access.

The Buccoo Reef—named after Tobago’s largest and most popular coral reef—will have capacity for 1,000 passengers in three lounges, which will include a range of bars and food service areas.  The vehicle deck will have 175 truck lane metres and capacity for 182 cars, or 239 cars, if trucks are not carried.  In addition, citizens will be able to enjoy comfortable coach style travel.