MB Sandaka commences operation between Guyana and Suriname

Former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson
Minister David Patterson

The MB Sandaka has commenced operations between Guyana and Suriname on Thursday according to Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson.

The Minister told INews that the first sail has commenced and will last for a period of 123 days.

“We will access the response of the travelling public to find out if the one sailing per day is okay and if we need to make adjustments, so it came as a result of a one-day intense discussion with my Surinamese counterpart”.

Patterson added that during the discussion with his Surinamese counterpart, it was revealed that both sides were facing similar issues and therefore, systems will be put in place for the continuation of the ferry service.

The MV Canawaima will be back in service from October 16, 2019, so therefore, the MB Sandaka will be operating on Guyana’s expense. “I have an agreement with my Surinamese counterpart that if the MV Canawaima is not in full operation on the date set, then the expense will be shared equally for the operation of the MB Sandaka,” according to Minster Patterson.

The ferry, which will be working on a rotational basis between Guyana and Suriname, will be inspected by a joint team of engineers, who will be carrying out a full inspection on October 2, 2019. The two countries have also agreed to address all issues facing the ferry service, not only mechanical but also hospitality.

On May 27, the Management of the Guyana-Suriname Ferry Service, through the Department of Public Information (DPI), had announced the suspension of operations from that day until further notice. Terminal Manager Gale Culley-Greene had told DPI that the Canawaima Ferry had been experiencing mechanical difficulties for some time and a decision was taken to have the vessel assessed and repaired.

Government had expressed concern at the inconvenience to travellers while saying that this country had been funding most of the maintenance over the years. It had also noted that the vessel’s engine “had been limping for some time and [the ferry] was being towed by a tug” during its trips between the two countries.

The suspension of the ferry service caused soaring traffic across the “backtrack” route on the Corentyne River border utilising speedboats.