Government looking for new Barbuda ferry

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Government plans to implement a new and faster commuter service between Antigua and Barbuda without the involvement of the current ferry operators of the Barbuda Express.
While Frederique Bonfils, operations manager of the Barbuda Express, has stated that the Barbuda Express is willing to help source and operate a new ferry, Arthur Nibbs, member of parliament for Barbuda Affairs, has candidly stated that the government has no plan to include the current ferry service providers in the process.
Nibbs is hoping to identify a new boat by early next year.
He disclosed yesterday that while there is an attempt to get locals with capital to come together to fund a new and faster ferry to operate between Antigua and Barbuda, the government is prepared to seek outside funding for a new ferry.
“I already have my contact out there looking for quotations and as soon as we can come up with that then we can move swiftly. We realise that the current service is grossly inadequate, and we find that it is breaking down very regular,” Nibbs said.
“What I am thinking about is having a group of Antiguans and Barbudans coming together to purchase a boat like that. We want to encourage joint venture with locals, we weren’t thinking about partnering with Barbuda Express,” he said.
The MP said a bigger and faster ferry is needed, considering the development growth that is expected to take place on Barbuda.
He said he foresees a future where Antiguans would journey to Barbuda daily for work and vice versa.
Meanwhile, Bonfils told OBSERVER media that the 56-seater vessel may now be too small for the type of passenger traffic going to Barbuda.
The operations manager of the Barbuda Express added that the channel between the two islands can be rough.
“It is very difficult to find the proper route. That route is not an easy one where you can have 45 minutes to get to your destination. The water can be very rough. It is not just any boat that can make that trip and I think the main problem is to find the right boat,” she  said.

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