ORANJESTAD/THE BOTTOM- It seems like the new Makana Ferry Service has already made a false start.
Where the new ferry service was supposed to start on November 1, 2021 with the maritime connection between St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten, only on Thursday was a press release sent out by the governments of St. Eustatius, saying the ferry could no long start on the initial date.
The joint press release says Blues and Blues Ltd. of Anguilla and the Public Entities St. Eustatius and Saba are ‘diligently working on the last preparations’ for the start of The Makana Ferry Service. “The date for the inaugural event, the schedule and the fares will be announced shortly”.
The release notes that in the previous weeks the key parties took important steps, but that ‘some critical milestones would still have to be met’ to start with the operations. “This is why the initial date of November 1st, 2021 to start with the inter – trips between Saba, Statia and St. Maarten was not feasible”, according to the release.
The two governments also note that when all necessary requirements are in place, an inaugural event will be held and the starting date will be announced.
The handling of matters with a later starting date, which can still not be announced, also raises some questions about the bidding and awarding process. It would seem logical that hard conditions were put in place, before rewarding a contract to a provider. The press release at the very least suggests that Blues & Blues is not ready (at all?) to start the service and that important conditions are still being put in place now. This also raises the question then, if the contract was awarded based on incomplete or even false information.
Final schedules have not been published so far and neither have the fares which will apply.