FERRY SERVICE BETWEEN ANGUILLA, FRENCH ST. MARTIN TO BEGIN SOON

anguillian
By anguillian October 30, 2017 10:42 Updated

 

 

 

After several weeks of closure and sketchy information, it has now been announced that the ferryboat service between Blowing Point, Anguilla, and Marigot, St. Martin, is to be resumed in the coming days.

A release from the Anguilla Air and Sea Ports Authority, states that arrangements are now in hand to erect temporary terminal spaces to accommodate passengers as well as Immigration and Customs officers and employees of the Port Authority.

This information is part of a general report issued to The Anguillian newspaper by the Port Authority about its post Hurricane Irma response. Following is that report:

“Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, the Anguilla Air and Sea Ports Authority (AASPA) has been assiduously working to return its Ports to a state of normalcy to ensure the people of Anguilla have avenues to travel and receive much needed goods and services into the Island. As with much persons and businesses on Anguilla, the Ports have been severely affected by Hurricane Irma. However, with a resilient and dedicated Board, management and staff and with support from the Government of Anguilla (GoA), the AASPA was able to restore operations on a limited basis to the Ports under its management.
“In fact, in a feat that must be commended, the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (CJLIA) was up and running and catering to relief, evacuation and commercial flights into and from Anguilla just 36 hours after such a major storm as Irma.
“The Road Bay Port (RBP), Anguilla’s main cargo port was able to receive relief vessels in less than a week after the passing of Hurricane Irma with commercial vessels conducting business shortly thereafter.

“The Blowing Point Port (BPP), Anguilla’s main passenger port for the arrival and departure of Anguillians, guests and other visitors received the most damage from Hurricane Irma. Damage to the main passenger terminal building was so severe that it was deemed unsound and uneconomic to carry out repairs and rehabilitation. The decision was taken, following an assessment of the damage and the receipt of technical advice, to demolish the portions of the terminal that remained standing to make way for its replacement in the near future. That demolition was carried out within two to three weeks after the passage of the hurricane. Despite many setbacks and challenges, the Port reopened, on a limited basis less than a month after Irma struck, to allow passengers to move free and safely to and from Anguilla and St. Maarten.
“Prior to the passage of Hurricane Irma, the AASPA was already embarking on plans to substantially improve and expand the infrastructure at its ports to surpass the expectations of the traveling public and of local businesses and foreign businesses trading with Anguilla. The AASPA has heard and understood the demands of the public it serves and is fully committed to meet and surpass these demands and expectations in the swiftest, most efficient, safest and most secure means within the power of the Authority. Indeed, while the effects of Hurricane Irma pose a major hurdle to the AASPA to return normal operations soonest, it has also presented a huge opportunity that will be seized and used as a catalyst to improve each sector of the AASPA.

“So what are these plans? The Airport Division of the AASPA, the CJLIA, is pressing ahead with an aggressive programme to return to regular operations. Prior to Irma, the CJLIA were already on a 24 hour cycle on demand. What does this mean? This means that the CJLIA was open to accommodate any aircraft at any time once proper notice was received. This is remarkable for any Airport and is currently not being done in the region. With this business model, Anguilla was able to see increased jet traffic over the normal period and saw a significant uptick in jet traffic in the often referred to dormant periods. As the debris from Hurricane Irma is fully cleared and the CJLIA is back to regular operating hours, this operation will continue. Currently, equipment to satisfy regulatory and operational aspects is being sourced to return CJLIA to full services.

“Of course, the other major question is: What about the runway being extended by 600 feet. The AASPA and the GoA were already in unison in exploring ways and means to attract additional commercial air traffic business and was already in communication with several air operators and potential operators interested in providing additional air services to Anguilla. This includes ongoing discussions with the locally owned and locally based commercial air services operators, Trans Anguilla Airways and Anguilla Air Services. Expanded air services will greatly benefit the businesses, residents, tourists and visitors, the economy and the People of Anguilla, as a whole. This is being pursued assiduously by the AASPA as a matter of economic and social priority on behalf of the People of Anguilla.
“What is the position with Blowing Point Port? Since the hurricane AASPA officials practically have been in daily communication with their counterparts and with the various other agencies involved in enabling the ferry traffic between both the French and Dutch sides of St. Martin/St. Maarten. These interactions resulted in limited charter boat operations being conducted between Blowing Point and Marigot and blowing Point and Simpson Bay for a number of weeks now.
“The push has been to commence commercial ferry operations involving multiple trips daily during daylight hours. The necessary steps are close to completion. As a result the ferry services between Blowing Point Port and Marigot will resume in the coming week or two. In the interim, the AASPA is diligently working with the GoA and its agents to erect temporary terminal spaces to accommodate passengers in particular as well as Immigration and Customs officers and the AASPA’s employees.

“What is the plan for a new, upgraded and more resilient terminal building? Already, discussions have progressed to the point of addressing design and funding for a new building that will be able to sustain the growth and progression of Anguilla, its people and its guests. All parameters for the most progressive building are on the table and stakeholder comments will be solicited and incorporated. Ultimately, as with other infrastructure in a country, this building must embody who we are as Anguilla.

“Long lines and persons jousting to enter the Port before it closes was the norm at the Road Bay Port. The AASPA recognized this problem and sought to put it to an end. By early 2018, the plan for RBP was to extend the operational hours of the Port to 7am to 7pm on week days and 7am to 3pm on Saturdays from the present hours of 8:30am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm on week days and 8:30am to 12:00pm on Saturdays. This plan too, will be continued.
“Additionally, the building of a new cargo jetty at RBP to ensure that improved and expanded cargo port infrastructure is in place that is able to accommodate the growing economic and social aspects of Anguilla is programmed to commence in the first half of 2018. Along with the new jetty, changes will be made to operational systems to complement the improvements in infrastructure that will better aid the servicing of AASPA’s patrons will be completed at the Port. For example, customers will be able to conduct all aspects of clearing their goods at the Port and payments made through a single window (one cashier) system. Other infrastructure such as a new warehouse building will also be designed and built on the additional land acquired to locate the shore end of the new jetty.
“The Corito Port (CP) is a Port under the management of the AASPA. And as a Port, the AASPA will in the short term erect the necessary physical barriers, monitoring devices along with the deployment of AASPA employees to ensure it meets and maintains the regulatory standards for a Port. Because these infrastructures were not in place to be destroyed by Hurricane Irma, fuel operations at the Port were not significantly interrupted.

“To reiterate, the damaging effects of Hurricane Irma on AASPA’s operations have been quite substantial. Despite major impediments and challenges, the AASPA is determined to use this crisis as a means to build a better and brighter AASPA that is focused on meeting and surpassing customer expectations and demand. As the weeks unfold, more details of AASPA’s plans will be shared for the information of our customers, stakeholders and the public at large.”

anguillian
By anguillian October 30, 2017 10:42 Updated

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