Multi-million dollar Supenaam stelling
falling apart again
…two Chinese ferries use 28M in fuel each month
The multi-million dollar Supenaam Stelling that was built to be used by the Roll on Roll Off ferry gifted to Guyana by China is falling apart again.
Large holes have been opening up on the stelling and workers have since been forced to lay sheets of metal to cover them.
To make matters worse, the ramp that has been built to allow vehicles to drive on or off of the ferry is also in a critical state, given that at least one of the hinges is tearing apart.
The steel rod which serves to interlock the two sections of the hinges has been buckling under the weight of the traffic and is close to breaking or slipping out completely.
Asked about the state of affairs of the stelling, Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn yesterday reminded media operatives that the stelling was not built under his Ministry nor Transport and Harbours Department.
He said that there were issues that have been acknowledged by the Ministry and that engineers have drafted a programme to undertake repairs to various sections of the stelling.
Benn said that there will be some other modifications, “we will make efforts again to bring it into better serviceability …we will continue to deal with the issues to keep it in service, we will keep it in service… that is our problem now.”
The ferry service has been deemed “as up and down” by some truck drivers, who are frequent travelers on the Chinese vessels.
A report from the office at Supenaam has indicated that on any given day, numerous trucks and smaller vehicles, among them cars and minibuses, utilize the facility.
Workers have attempted to reinforce the surface of the ramp at the Supenaam/Good-Hope Ferry Stelling with metal sheets to avoid huge trucks from breaking through the concrete structure.
The recent corrective measure was initiated after a rice truck fell through the surface during the latter part of last year, resulting in a large hole developing in that section of the ramp.
Rice miller, Nazmul Hakh had invested close to a million dollars to effect immediate repairs to the damaged section. He has a number of trucks that depend on the ferry service to transport rice to Georgetown for shipment to the Caribbean.
The refurbished M.V. Malali has been put back in operation but only operates on special operations.
While the journey from Supenaam to Parika has lessened by almost 90 minutes, one truck driver said that while the current service could be deemed “reasonable” more work needs to be done on the “problematic” ferry stelling to ensure a more compatible service.
One driver who utilizes the service four times weekly explained that there needs to be order when it comes to persons traveling with their vehicles in assembling on the boats.
The driver said persons have been using the term “priority” to be given swifter access onto the boats as opposed to their counterparts.
A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) Regional Councillor, Wazeer Latiff who visited the stelling recently said that while blame should not be laid on the Government, full blame should be directed towards those Government representatives who were put in charge to overlook the project.
Latiff said that the contractor should have been more honest, especially with himself and should have provided the people of Region Two “ with value for money” since it was their monies that was spent to construct that stelling.
The Supenaam Ferry Stelling became operational in 2009. Since then numerous repairs had to be conducted on the multi-million-dollar project.
Meanwhile, Head of the Transport Department, Marcy Merchant was asked to provide details as to how much fuel was used by the two ferries, the cost of fuel and the amount they earn in tolls.
She was unable to provide all the information but did say that the two ferries use $28M in fuel each month.
Public Works Minister Benn said that the outstanding information could be provided later.
Asked if Guyana was spending more on the ferries than what they earn, Benn remind media operatives that the ferry service is a subsidized one.
He did point out that the Ministry intends to review the rates charged by the ferries as well as that of the Demerara Harbour Bridge among others.