Maritime transport in Central Group to undergo profound transformation with new vessels, considers Vasco Cordeiro
The option to proceed with the construction of two vessels for the transport of passengers and vehicles for the maritime links between the Central Group islands "will radically change the maritime transport of passengers in the routes between the 'Triangle' islands," defended the Regional Secretary for the Economy in Horta today. The government official considered it as "a decisive step towards the construction of an internal and innovative market on these islands in order to reach a new level and improve the necessary conditions."
Vasco Cordeiro spoke during the ceremony to sign the contract for the construction of two 40 metre vessels for the regular operation of maritime passenger and vehicle transport on Central Group islands between Atlânticoline between SA and Armon Shipyards.
The Regional Secretary added that this project "is a priority process for the Regional Government" not only "because it will improve the transport conditions of people and goods between these islands," but also because "it is part of a series of investment that are being carried out in the construction of the new passenger terminals in Horta and Madalena, the intervention in the access ramp of Velas port and the scheduled interventions for S.Roque do Pico port."
According to the government official, "only those who are not acquainted with the type of operations between the 'Triangle' islands, the number of transported passengers and the cargo movement may have doubts about the awarding of priority status to this process."
"It is absolutely vital and essential," Vasco Cordeiro said recalling the "decision not to proceed with the construction of vessels for seasonal inter-island transport." "Given the volume of investment required, it was understood that these funds should be applied in our economy and not outside."
The Regional Secretary of the Economy also highlighted, among the improvements to be introduced, "the transport of patients. Both vessels are equipped with infirmaries, but I believe that the most important advantage is not the existence of an infirmary, but the fact that the evacuation of a patient between these islands becomes possible with the least inconvenience possible and with better conditions that safeguard the privacy and dignity of patients." "This is achieved with ambulance transport and without stretcher transfers. Patients may be transported by ambulance from Pico Healthcare Centre and arrive at Horta Hospital without leaving the ambulance. This is a significant change," added the government official.
The contract signed today between the Atlânticoline SA and Armon Shipyards estimates the construction of two 40 metre vessels; one with capacity for 333 passengers and 8 vehicles and the other with capacity for 287 passengers and 12 vehicles. This project represents a total investment of 18.6 million Euros. In accordance with contract provisions, the vessels will be delivered in August and November 2013.