UBP condemns Government’s silence on Ferry safety

Posted by on Oct 4, 2010 in Local News & Alerts | 0 comments

QUESTIONS are being raised over the safety of government-owned ferries following last week’s disruption, stranding hundreds of passengers.

Ferry operators had claimed the newer Fast Ferries were not safe for them to operate. Now, the Opposition United Bermuda Party wonders if they are unsafe for passengers.

Questioning Government’s commitment to public safety, ZBM radio reports that Opposition Leader and Shadow Transport Minister Kim Swan charged: “The failure to provide the public with clear, useful and timely information about ferry service disruptions says the people of Bermuda are not this Government’s first priority.

“We have a situation in which operators claim the ferries are not safe to operate, raising concerns they must also be unsafe for the traveling public.”

Instead of addressing these concerns head on, concluded Mr. Swan, the Junior Transport Minister announced that Government is considering replacing the original ferries — just seven years after coming into service.

The Opposition says Government has not properly explained the reason for the replacements.

Added Mr. Swan: “This confusing statement followed two days last week in which the Government failed to provide the public with timely information about which ferry routes were operating and why the disruptions were happening in the first place.

“The handling of this situation has been appalling.

“The Government must come clear on all aspects of this controversy.”

Mr. Swan criticized the Junior Minister for making “half-statements” and wondered why Premier and Transport Minister Ewart Brown appears to be silent on the issue.

“This is his ministry and yet he is nowhere to be seen. Is he too busy to step forward and give people a clear picture of what is going on?

“If the issues with the fast ferries are serious enough to have the crew refuse to work until they are addressed, then it’s time to bring in an independent marine surveyor to conduct a thorough inspection of all the vessels.

“There have been a lot of rumors and controversy surrounding the questionable nature of the original procurement process. We may wish to consider other shipyards.”

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