MV Kanawan, which services the Parika-Supenaam route, will be out of service from Wednesday.
The vessel will be in dry dock and is expected to remain there for five weeks.
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill said both the MV Kanawan and MV Sabanto, which serve the same route, must be repaired before they become unserviceable. However, the vessels are expected to go into dry dock in a phased manner.
“Those ferries have not go into dry dock for a long time and that is largely because of the demand but before we lose them, we’ll have to get both in the dry dock,” he said.
According to the Public Works Minister, since the People’s Progressive Party Government took office in August 2020, vessels have been going into dry dock in order to ensure that they are all serviceable and safe. So far, the MV Barima, MV Kimbia and the MV Malali have all been serviced.
“On Wednesday, we are going to put MV Kanawan into dry dock. So, it will just be MV Sabanto that will be operating the Parika-Supenaam route,” he noted.
However, the Minister reassured that there is no need for panic since arrangements have been put in place. He said the 05:00h schedule will be kept but the vessel will be working on a touch-and-go basis.
“So, the boat will start at 5 o’clock from Supenaam coming to Parika and as it loads, it will go back and then come back like that. Should there be additional support required, we’ll have to use one of the side docking vessels – either MV Malali or MV Makouria – especially with trucks if persons are moving party or other heavy crops, one of those vessels will also be assistant.”
Minister Edghill said dry docking of the two vessels is necessary to ensure sustainable use of both of them and also to ensure the quality of service and that they can continue to provide the same quality of service which is expected.
He posited that Guyanese are satisfied with the level of efficiency they have been receiving over the past year and a half especially those who utilise the service facilitated by Transport and Harbour Department (T&HD) for the Parika-Supenaam route.
Edghill noted that there have been several improvements over that period including extending the ferry service until 18:00h.
“I want to assure you that everything is being done to ensure minimum inconvenience or disruptions even while we go into mandatory dry docking and the servicing of these vessels.”
He pointed out that there will be some interruptions in terms of the schedule but people will be able to move across the Essequibo River freely between Supenaam and Parika.
Farmers, suppliers and business owners are being asked to check with T&HD to make arrangements to have their lorries transported across the river.
The MV Sabanto and MV Kanawan have been operating between Parika and Supenaam for 10 years, and were gifted to Guyana by the Chinese Government.
The US$14 million boats, which were funded by the Chinese Government, were described as a New Year’s gift by the local Chinese Embassy.
The vessels arrived in the country in December 2011 at Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling and became operational the next year. Each vessel has three decks and can hold up to 800 persons, 44 cars, and 20 lorries and can travel at a test speed of 12.5 knots.