Despite its May 2019 recommissioning to the tune of $488 million, the MV Kimbia is back in a dry dock for emergency repairs after suffering a hole in the bow.
The Ministry of Public Works in a statement announced that the vessel which services residents of the North West District (NWD) has developed a hole in its bow.
This led to a decision to move the MV Kimbia into the dry dock at the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC).
“The Ministry of Public Works and the Management of Transport and Harbours Department wishes to notify the public that every effort is being made in collaboration with the Private Sector to get the service up and running as soon as possible,” the statement detailed.
The MV Kimbia is expected to be back in operation by the end of January.
It was further disclosed that the MV Barima has suffered engine failure to its port engine.
In 2019, MV Kimbia was recommissioned by the APNU/AFC to the tune of $488 million.
At the time, the then Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said the contractual works executed by Courtney Benn Construction were to upgrade the maritime sector and provide better services to residents of Regions One and Two.
Upon assuming office in August 2020, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill gave the assurance that the PPP/C Government was focused on delivering a new vessel to the North West District.
In a September, Minister Edghill said, “in the first 10 days of being in office, President Dr Irfaan Ali and Vice President Dr Jagdeo along with myself and our team engaged the Indian Government and we have been able to resolve [some pending] issues.”
Five months later, on January 13, the Administration made good on its pledge and signed a $2.6 billion contract with Garden Reach Shipbuilders Engineers Limited (GRSEL) to construct an ocean-going passenger and cargo vessel to ply the Georgetown to NWD route and replace the MV Kimbia.
The vessel is expected to be built and shipped to Guyana in 18 months. It is anticipated the ferry will make travel and business easier for Region One (Barima-Waini) residents as both goods and services will be delivered in a shorter time.
Minister Edghill has stated that the contract, which was financed through a US$8 million grant and US$10 million Line of Credit (LOC) from the Indian Government, will save Guyana some $588 million. The saved sum will target the construction of new stellings in Region One, namely at Morawhanna, Kumaka, and Port Kaituma.
Former PPP/C President, Donald Ramotar had secured the monies from the Government of India for the new ferry before leaving office in 2015. However, the project remained stalled over the last five years under the previous Administration.